Comrade Ayuba Wabba, President, National Labour Congress (NLC), has urged the federal government to respect International Labour Organisation (ILO) principles and the rights of workers in order to have peaceful industrial relations.
Wabba made this known during the Anniversary Lecture with the topic: ‘Industrial Relations in Nigeria Today: Challenges and Prospects, organised by the Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria, on Saturday in Abuja.
He opined: “If the government does not respect such principles, the peaceful industrial relations will continue to elude us.”
According to him, the ILO Declaration of 1918 is about social justice. This implies that workers are not slaves. Workers work to earn a leaving and therefore, there must be social contract and social relationship that must be respected by all parties.
He said: “Even in the best economy, workers do go on strike to drive home their points. As we speak, workers in France are protesting and demanding for fairness and justice.
“This is the trend and tradition around the world. If we sit down and wish, we will have a peaceful industrial relations without respecting the fundamental principles of ILO, then we are not yet there.”
He added: “If we must make progress, the government needs to continue to take the totality of workers as partners in progress, as creators of wealth and not a liability or as minority as presumed by some elites.”
He further stated that in many other part of the world, the principle of social justice must be respected especially in the healthcare sector, adding that healthcare delivery is the right of every citizen, a fundamental human right, like the right to life.
“Security, welfare and health of the people are very fundamental. Among this principles and rights, health is the most important one,” he said.
According to Wabba, “Many people have wealth but don’t have the health to enjoy it. The key parameters to measure development in the whole world is health indices such as maternal and infant mortality. He, however, said that with accountability, transparency and respect to the rule of law with collective bargain, there will be very peaceful industrial relations.
According to him, “What us applicable in global best practices is to put in time of productivity to determine what your enumeration is.
“When you go to hospitals in the United States, your clock is used to access your job evaluation. That is why nurses earn more. But in our case, they say once you are from this profession you must earn this salary; that is injustice.
“We must look at the best global practices to make justice available to all,” he added.
Earlier, Professor Isaac Adewole, Minister of Health, said the organization is an ideal, one manifesting the aspirations in the health sector.
According to him, the topic is apt considering the frequent disharmony in the health sector which has exposed the citizenry to exploitation by private hospital owners and quacks.
He added that dialogue is needed to enjoy the dividends of democracy and called on the Union to maintain the legacy of unity.