THE Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, President Ayuba Wabba, on Tuesday in Abuja urged Nigerian youths to participate actively in trade union activities. Wabba made the call at the NLC National Youth Conference with the theme “Promoting Youth Participation in Trade Union.”
He noted that in as much as NLC is the most vibrant in Africa, leading other Africa countries in trade unionism, it was doing itself a great disservice by not allowing youth participation in its activities. “We need to encourage youths from the local council to the national level to fully participate in trade union activities. LC has ordered its affiliate bodies to set up structures that will accommodate the youth.
“The youths need to be given a chance; they need to come in and get their right of place to drive the process of change that the country is yarning for at the moment. I started my trade union career in 1989 when I was barely 21 years old; I passed through the rudiments and was fully involved in the activities of the union until I got to where I am today.”
He said that it was high time youths replaced the aging workforce, adding that they would be able to drive the new face of labour unions, if the elders gave them the needed space. According to him, youths remain the centre of leadership and must be supported. He said that allowing youths to exercise their energy on unionism would help to build a lasting structure which must come with integrity and commitment to the union.
Also speaking, Christopher Johnson, the Programme Director for African Solidarity Centre, said there was the need to build workers’ power with the youth as the driving force. He said that youths were technologically savvy, young people were better positioned to lead the old; hence, they must be given a chance in the trade union. “Seventy per cent of Nigerians are between the ages of 18 and 35 and if such people are not given a chance to move into labour union, then something is fundamentally wrong.”
Lucy Offiong, the Chairperson, Youth Conference Planning Committee, said it was time to bring in the youth who should be trained and educated on the ideals of NLC. He advised the youths not to allow the NLC to regret the action of bringing them into trade union activities, adding that they should feel free to ask the President any questions agitating their minds.
“We want the labour union to succeed so that when we are leaving, we can be sure we are handing over to a vibrant and committed youth.” A participant, Mayowa Abutu, and member, Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities, NASU, lauded the move by the NLC to give the youth a chance. She said that this act would encourage many youths to get fully involved in trade union activities and urged youths to avail themselves of the opportunity provide by the NLC to engage in trade unionism. – Vanguard
— Sep 20, 2016 @ 17:05 GMT