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Oshiomhole to organised labour: Prioritise workers’ rights over partisan politics

Oshiomhole to organised labour: Prioritise workers’ rights over partisan politics
November 15
08:52 2023

Adams Oshiomhole, senator representing Edo north, has asked organised labour to prioritise the rights of workers rather than engage in partisan politics.

Recently, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) said they were embarking on a nationwide strike to protest the alleged brutalisation of Joe Ajaero, president of the NLC, in Imo state.

The strike commenced at midnight on November 14.

On Tuesday, there was partial compliance to the strike across the country.

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Speaking with journalists on Tuesday at the presidential villa, Oshiomhole said he will always be on the side of the labour unions as a worker and former union leader.

He added that the ongoing strike is motivated by political considerations rather than a clear worker-focused purpose.

“Labour cannot be apolitical because politics is about the people,” he said.

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“When I was in NLC I had argued that nobody has a right to be partisan, much more than those who turn the will of our industrial progress.

“But in saying that, we must recognise that no matter how hard you try, when it comes to politics, people are going to have different reasons for supporting different candidates.

“You have to be careful not to be seen to be doing the bidding of a particular candidate or a particular political party.

“As president of the NLC, I made no friends with any politicians in Edo state.

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“I was not anybody’s boy. I want to make my decisions. I take responsibility for those decisions.

“You can’t find me in the house of a politician not because I hate them.

“I represent those guys who can only vote, even though the law allowed them to be voted for. Unfortunately, the system hardly throws them up.”

‘STATES MUST BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR MINIMUM WAGE’ 

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Speaking further, the former Edo governor wondered why the labour unions are not mobilising against states that are yet to implement the minimum wage.

He said organised labour should hold state governments accountable for payment of national minimum wage, which also covers local government and state workers.

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“If these are the issues on the table, even as a senator, I will publicly support an action against any government that thinks that we should lament away our hunger while the people do what they do,” the senator said.

“Unfortunately, this strike is not about those issues. And I think we have to be careful not to mix our political opinion with our responsibilities, because the issues confronting workers are so many that they should become the priority.”

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The former Edo governor said he does not support the brutalisation of Ajaero.

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