Workers Day: Subsidy Removal, FX Reform Challenge Industrial Relations – Aremu

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Ahead of Workers Day celebrations on Wednesday, May 1, 2024, the organised labour and President Bola Ahmed Tinubu led-administration have been commended for maintaining relative industrial peace in the wake of daunting current economic challenges in the country.
The director-general of Michael Imoudu National Institute for Labour Studies (MINILS), Ilorin, Kwara State, Comrade Issa Aremu, made the commendation at the institute’s pre-May Day policy brief on the state of labour-government relations under the Renewed Hope Agenda of the present federal government.
Aremu observed that while labour- government relations are always characterised by “policy contestation and policy accommodation”, the twin policy of inevitable fuel subsidy removal and foreign exchange market reforms that had engendered inflation, currency devaluation, high cost of living had challenged industrial relations more than ever before.
He, however, said adherence in the past one year by all stakeholders to the principle of collective bargaining and social dialogue has “commendably minimised avoidable work-stoppages, strikes and lockouts”.
He added that both the government and unions in the future should deepen engagement for mutual maximum benefits of the ongoing reform agenda.
Aremu singled out the October 2 15-point Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the organised labour and government following the removal of fuel subsidy “as a model framework for managing industrial relations at times of economic crisis”.
According to him, the October agreement was being implemented to the benefit of all the parties, citing the payment of the federal government wage award of N35,000 pending when a new national minimum wage would be announced.
Aremu observed that the most significant clause of the October agreement was that, “all parties commit to henceforth abide by the dictates of social dialogue in all our future engagements”.
On the significance of observance of May Day celebration in a democracy, Issa recalled that it was democratic dispensation of Governors Abubakar Rimi and Balarabe Musa and late President Shehu Shagari that declared 1st May public holiday in 1981 following NLC demand.
He observed that organised labour has a stake in sustaining the nation’s democracy, adding that the citizens are better off in a democratic governance than any other system of government.


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