Nigeria hosts 4th Ordinary Congress of ITUC Africa

Helen Shok Jok. Abuja

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Trade Unions from over fifty countries across the globe converged on Abuja, Nigeria’s capital for the 4th Ordinary Congress of the International Trade Union Confederation, ITUC-Africa.

One of the burning issues discussed during the two days meeting is how to effectively organise to push for a common cause that will see workers globally earn a living wage rather than a minimum wage.

The International Trade Union Congress ITUC Africa, said the time has come for the working people in Africa and across the globe to speak with one voice on the issue and other issues affecting them.

Addressing the delegates, President of the Nigeria Labour Labour NLC, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, said the 4thOrdinary Congress of the ITUC-Africa was unique in many ways as the Congress is coming on the heels of the Centenary of the International Labour Organization ILO.

He urged commitment by all member countries of the ILO on the centenary declaration of the world body during its annual meeting in Geneva in June this year.

“It is also important to continue to rally around the progress and profound declarations made at the 2019 International Labour Conference. The fervent pursuit of the ratification and implementation of the Centenary Convention 190 on Elimination of Violence and Harassment in the World of Work would be a bold signature to the commitment by all the countries of the world to a future of work anchored on fairness, inclusion, equity, and social justice.

“This Congress is also taking place at a time when popular protests have for the past few months been rife in many parts of the world.

The common denominator in these protests is the resolute will of the people to resist low wages and pensions, adverse labour laws reforms, and punitive austerity robes sewn by International Financial Institutions.

“The voice of the working people of the world through these protests is very loud and clear – we demand improved working and living conditions, real democracy, real social progress through creation and sustenance of decent jobs. In the struggle of the past few weeks, we draw a useful lesson – a people united can never be defeated,” Wabba who is also the President of ITUC- Global said.

He said that Africa has the world’s highest youth pool and the largest reserve of unspoiled flora and fauna insisting that this is the time to unite and make these count for Africans.

“We demand that the failed narrative for Africa be reversed because we are not a failed people. Africa does not need another handout. Africa does not need another loan from Bretton Woods Institutions. Africa is not asking for cheap favors. In fact, we demand the repatriation of our stolen wealth stashed away in developed economies,” he said.

Eulogizing the role of labour in the socio-economic development of the society, Nigeria’s President,  Muhammadu Buhari in a message, said the policies of the government anywhere in the world will fail if the organized labour is not carried along in the scheme of things.

He said that Nigeria recognised the role of labour in the social economic development of the society and has therefore ensured that their issues are placed on the fore burner of his administration.

The Regional Director for Africa and Assistant Director General of the International Labour Organisation  Mrs Cynthia Samuel-Olajuwon said to achieve economic and social development in Africa, jobs must increase by three hundred million by the year 2030.

“What this means is that 36 million new jobs must be created every year until 2030,” she said.

She  called on the governments of Africa to take advantage of the huge human resource in the continent.

President of the ITUC- Africa Mr Mody Guiro, who spoke in French, said the gathering was an opportunity for African Trade Unions to brainstorm and development a common front in the struggle for better deal for their members.

Delegates from the United States, Belgium, Italy and France among others were also in attendance in solidarity with ITUC-Africa.

The theme of the conference is ‘Unite and Make a Difference.’

Omolayo.A