The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has launched a book on historical landmarks of the struggle of the movement.
The NLC President, Mr Ayuba Wabba, said this in his welcome address at the public presentation of the NLC at 40 publication, titled “Contemporary History of Working Class Struggles’’, on Monday in Abuja.
According to Wabba, the book is a brief history of the Congress, “which is the first step in our resolve to document the rich struggle of our movement”.
“The Nigeria Labour Congress has evolved from colonial times to the present day as a fighting organisation for the working people of this country.
“From the rendition of the account of our forebears in the anit-colonial struggle up till the time of independence.
“It captures the period of the re-organisation of NLC, through the dark years of the military rule and the struggle of the working class.
“It also covers all the concessions we have managed to win from our ruling elite as a result of hard bargains and struggles,’’ he said.
He explained that the book was written to allow the main actors in the life of the movement to say in their own words, the rationale for some of the decisions they took while in office or what motivated them.
The NLC president however said that there was need for the working class to be vigilant in order to maintain the hard won benefits due to the current phase of neo-liberal economic paradigm in the country.
Prof. Dafe Otobo from the University of Lagos, the book reviewer, said the compendium was about the struggle of the labour movement with 12 chapters and 247 pages.
According to him, working class struggle are too complex and occurring in all industries simultaneously, but readings and actions of such events are not captured in this book as the title by name imply.
“I will also suggest that it is best to use female instead gender as it was mentioned in several instances and I also notice that there is gender discrimination in relation to administrating,‘’ he said.
Otobo however said the book was commendable as it captured the major actors from the beginning of the labour movement and their struggle for the working class from the pre-colonial era till date.
Speaking, Mr Hassan Sunmonu, first President of the NLC, commended the leadership of the congress for putting the book into perspective of the movement.
“Many politicians are not even aware of the great role that workers played for the country to gain independence.
“But with this book, it will tell our stories of the many battles that the movements have encountered just for good things to come to workers and Nigerians.
“We must not just sit and watch, Nigerians must determine their destiny,‘’ he said.
Also, the TUC President, Mr Festus Osifo, said that the Nigerian worker had been suppressed and subjugated.
“Today, our minimum wage is less than 50 dollar per month, when it was negotiated at N30,000, you will recall that it was somewhere around 90 dollars, but today due to inflation the value has been completely eroded,’’ he said.
Osifo therefore appealed to the Federal Government to place value on the working class as they are the ones that create the wealth of the nation.
The TUC president also called on the federal government to ensure the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) returned back to the classrooms.
The event attracted notable dignitaries, including serving and former ministers, and former presidents of NLC, including former Edo governor and erstwhile National Chairman of ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole. (NAN)