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ILO, FG excited as trade unions in Nigeria develop own labour migration policy

By Michael Oche

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the Federal government have expressed joy with the development of a Trade Union Labour Migration Policy by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC).

Inviolata Chinyangarara Specialist, Workers Activities at ILO Abuja Office while speaking on Friday at a one day workshop to review the draft of Trade unions Labour migration policy in Abuja, noted that the ILO is encouraged that the trade unions policy is a homegrown initiative.

She expressed joy and confidence that the Policy when validated, will institutionalise Labour Migration issues and mainstreaming them into the structures and operations of trade unions in Nigeria

In her words, “As the ILO Bureau for workers activities, we are very encouraged by the efforts towards developing a homegrown labour migration policy. Homegrown because it’s a need that came from the two Federation (NLC and TUC). It is also something that is being developed internally using internal expertise.”

According to her, protection of rights of migrant workers is very important thematic area, which is also a key priority for the ILO, adding that, “That’s why you see that there are also quite a number of ILO international labour standards, recommendations and protocols that are linked to the thematic area of labour migration.”

In his goodwill message, John Nyamali, the director employers and wages at the federal ministry of labour and employment said this initiative wouldn’t have come at a better time than now when global attention is continually being focused on Labour Migration.

He expressed the commitment and total support of the government towards the implementation of the Trade Unions Labour Migration Policy in Nigeria.

He said, “As you may be aware, Labour Migration is a topic of growing importance, on which information is needed for policy formulation and implementation thus, the promotion of Labour Migration is seen as one of the key ways to increase the contribution of International Labour Migration to national development.

“Consequently, migration is a cross-cutting issue that falls within the purview of many Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government, Civil Society Organizations, Trade Unions and Non-governmental organizations hence, the need for synergy and collaboration amongst relevant stakeholders to make migration a win-win proposition providing gains to both countries of origin and destination, as well as to the migrants themselves.

“For the Government of Nigeria, managing migration represents a growing challenge as Nigeria occupies an important position in the global migration landscape. It is against this backdrop that the Government of Nigeria adopted the National Policy on Labour Migration on 15 October, 2014 and revised 2020, to promote safe, fair, regular Labour migration and to harness its benefit for national development, as well as to combat the increasing challenges of irregular migration, exploitative practices, forced labour, smuggling and human trafficking.

“However, it is our belief that when the Trade Unions Labour Migration Policy is validated and operationalized in view of its objectives, we will have a hand shake and speak to the National Policy on Labour Migration in order to enhance its successful implementation.”

Our correspondent reports that while the Nigerian Government has intensified its roles in Migration Governance and developed two key policies; National Migration Policy in 2015, and the National Policy on Labour Migration in 2014.

However, for Trade Unions’ specific activities and effectiveness in Labour Migration governance, there is no policy to regulate Trade Unions. The slow pace of Trade Unions’ involvement in labour migration governance partly explains the veritable challenge of statistical data on labour migration indicators. It hinders the effective management of organised labour migration in the country.

With the Trade Unions Labour Migration Policy set to be validated, Trade Unions’ drive for a rights-based approach to labour migration with be strengthened.

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