NLC demands trade unions’ input on AfCTA protocols 

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has demanded for the trade unions input on the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) protocols.

The coordinator of NLC AfCFTA, Comrade Echezona Asuzu, who stated this at the end of a two-day Training Workshop for AfCFTA Desk Officers of NLC affiliates said the demands became imperative due to concern of workers on the programme.

He said the workshop with the theme” Deepening Trade Unions Engagement with AfCFTA” is apt considering concerns by various affiliates of the congress that there may be escalation of precarious jobs marked by job insecurity, retrenchment, poor income and casualisation and outsourcing of labour.

Others, according to him, are deepened unemployment, dearth of training opportunities for workers, poor working conditions including deterioration of occupational safety and health standards, erosion of trade union rights among others

Comrade Asuzu further said this training is organised by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) with the support of International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC- Africa), is to build the capacity of trade unionists who are engaged with the process of trade and investment in Africa, especially under the auspices of the African Continental Free Trade Area AfFTA).

He said: “We have taken two days to look at what are the prevailing situations, what are the issues? What are concerns and how trade unions can respond to these issues.

“We were able to identify some key concerns and these concerns actually can be categorised in four major divisions. One is poor recognition and mainstreaming trade unions face or voice in the process of the development of protocols. You know we have a number of protocols in AfCFTA, most have been concluded, I think one or two are yet to be concluded.

“In this process, we have observed that we need to make demand that there is need to include more inputs from trade unions because that has not happened to our satisfaction.

“The other one is the issue of productivity. We’ve come to establish the fact that without production, we cannot really have trade in a manner that would be of help to a country like Nigeria and a continent as Africa.”