Mr. Fashola said Lagos State has lost a lot to strikes.
Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State on Wednesday advised labour unions to always explore amicable ways of resolving industrial disputes with their employers.
Mr. Fashola said this at the May Day 2013 celebration which held at Onikan Stadium, Lagos. He said that the frequent use of industrial actions to pursue workers’ causes undermines productivity.
“Strikes for me should be used only as a last resort. It is perhaps the vehicle that is used only when other options have failed, not when the management of a union is angry with an employer.
“If you read the Nigerian Labour Law and follow the process in the law, you will realise that it is not even easy to go on strike.
“I don`t know for example, how many people who participate in strikes know that if you participate in an illegal strike, you can be liable for conviction of a criminal offence.
“In essence, strikes don`t do anybody any good, it decreases productivity and affect progress and development of any society,” he said.
The governor said the state had lost so much to strikes in the past, noting that the doctors` strike in the state in 2012 resulted in 16 deaths, while the recent teachers` strike affected the education sector.
He stated that the recent industrial harmony in the state had helped to promote development.
While congratulating workers on May Day celebration, Mr. Fashola urged them to participate more in nation building by helping to proffer solutions to developmental challenges.
In his message, Emeka Nwogu, Minister of Labour and Productivity, commended the Nigerian workers for their contributions to the development of the country.
Mr. Nwogu, who was represented by Nifisatu Agunbiade, State Controller of the Ministry, reiterated the commitment of the Federal Government to improving workers welfare.
Meanwhile, some stakeholders in the education sector on Wednesday called on all tiers of government to make the welfare of workers a priority.
Michael Alogba-Olukoya, National President, Nigeria Union of Teachers, in a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos, said that the average Nigerian workers was still poorly paid.
Mr. Alogba-Olukoya observed that this had contributed to the slow pace of national development.
The NUT boss said that there was no way the country would realise its vision 20: 20:20 if the welfare of its workers was not a priority.
“I want to seize the opportunity of this celebration to warn the 18 defaulting states that if by June 1, they fail to implement the 27.5 per cent new salary enhancement for teachers, there will be a total down tool.
“The strike is going to be total and before such strike is called off in any of these defaulting states, the union’s National Executive Committee will meet to decide such,” Mr. Alogba-Olukoya said.
A Professor of Sociology, Lai Olurode, also bemoaned the state of the average worker in the country.
“We find ourselves where we are today because we are largely dependent on importation. We have a very few people meaningfully engaged, with a lot of others being over dependent on these few for survival.
“The dependants of employed workers become so high that there is so much pressure on them and life almost unbearable.
“We must also seek means of addressing the dearth of infrastructure in the country, as well as the state of security,” the former Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Lagos, said.
Karo Oghenekaro, Chairman, Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), University of Lagos chapter, called on labour leaders to always fight for the interest of their members.
Mr. Oghenekaro said: “We must rise up against the idea of working contrary to laid down laws, all because we have selfish interests to protect.
“I want to say that the interest of members must remain paramount to the affairs of all the three tiers of government if we intend to succeed and carry on as a union and ultimately achieve a common goal.”
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