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Abrogate the 2005 trade union act now!

Statement issued on April 1 by the CDWR in Lagos in response to President Obasanjo signing into effect a new anti-trade union law

We in the CDWR condemn in the strongest term the trade union act signed into law by President Obasanjo few days ago. While pretending that the trade union act was done to conform with international labour organisation, we in the CDWR categorically assert without any fear of contraction that the new trade union act represents the most vicious legal shackle designed to undermine the constitutional and democratic rights of Nigerian workers vis-à-vis their right to belong to trade unions and using that trade union platform to fight to protest their own interests.

Apart from several provisions which practically tend to undermine the right of trade unions to embark on industrial actions, provisions which arbitrarily determine issues which workers can go on strike for and which issues they could never go on strike for, the trade union act completely outlaws the right of workers in education sectors, health sector and all other sectors categorized as essential services. This, to say the least, constitutes a violent violation of the constitutional and democratic rights of Nigerian workers as well as international status.

Right from the time the trade union bill was sent to the National Assembly for promulgation into law, the CDWR has been opposed to these undemocratic positions including some that were dropped from the final act. Regrettably, the new trade union act has only confirmed our worse fear that President Obasanjo’s capitalist government is unrepentantly pro-rich, pro-employee but assiduously anti-labour and anti-poor.

We consequently call on all the labour leaders and labour federations across the country in all states and local governments, industrial unions and at shop floor levels to come-up with concrete plans of action to defeat this latest assault on labour and peoples rights in general.

For us in the CDWR, we shall not hesitate to use all legitimate and democratic means to ensure that this obnoxious trade union act is abrogated. And if by May Day 2005, this undemocratic anti-labour act has not been abrogated or set aside by court of law, then we in the CDWR will be organizing a mass protest of all those that are opposed to this act at twelve regional May Day rallies including Lagos and Abuja.

Aluta Continua, Victoria Acerta

Victor Osakwe