NECA, NIC, others seek industrial peace for national development

Stakeholders on Wednesday converged in Lagos at the National Labour Adjudication Forum, to seek ways of finding lasting solutions to issues surrounding labour disputes in Nigeria in order to engender national development.

The forum themed, “Labour Adjudication in Nigeria: The present and the future” was hosted by the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) in partnership with the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN).

In his keynote speech, Benedict Kanyip, president of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NIC), said that there is room to continue educating and improving the industrial court and the laws guiding labour in the country.

“We need to go back to school to study the new jurisprudence around labour adjudication because 50 percent of what we are doing at the NIC is wrong,” he said, adding that “when we talk about the present and future adjudication of labour, there is work to do.”

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Kanyip said that the benchmark should be the global standard set by the International Labour Organization (ILO), otherwise there would be more than enough labour litigation for the NICN to process in the future.

“Because most workplace rights are covered by international instruments ratified by Nigeria, I envisage in the future that predominantly most of the litigation would revolve around the rights of employees to get the work and to do the work.

“I also envisage that NICN will be saddled with litigation as to the needs of sustainable enterprise because of the strength and power of employers and the way the employer group is pushing the concept of enterprise, competitiveness and sustainability,” Kanyip said.

Adjudication refers to the legal process of resolving a dispute or deciding a case, according to Cornell Law School in the US.

Meanwhile, Taiwo Adeniyi, president of NECA said that the forum was held to promote enterprise competitiveness and sustainability and deepen collaboration with social partners and stakeholders in the Industrial and workplaces relations.

“It should be noted that industrial peace is key to national development. Nigeria has had its own share of industrial unrest, both in the public and private sectors.

“The implications of such industrial actions are well known and need not be reiterated here. However, as stakeholders in the workplace and indeed in national development, we must constantly find a middle ground of compromise, whereby with a win-win perspective, we all advance our sometimes different objectives,” he said.

The president said that all parties have a common responsibility to align their divergent views, consolidate their interests and put to use the machineries of conflict resolution as enshrined in various statutes to attain national economic development.

“While we continue to consolidate our partnership and collaboration with organised labour , we must say that the need to deepen the partnership and collaboration is imperative more than ever before, as the nation faces critical issues in the coming months,” he said.

On the other hand, Ayuba Wabba, president of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), commended the initiative by NECA to bring social partners together to look at the issue of labour relations and its jurisdiction.

“There are a lot of changes now happening in the world of work, especially after the COVID pandemic.

There are new forms of work and there is a new form of employment relation, and there will certainly be new labour jurisdiction in that direction.

“As we go into the fifth industrial revolution, it is certain that there will be new challenges. So, it is paramount for us to look at these challenges and prepare proactively,” Wabba said.

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