Automobile workers seek policies to reposition economy, create jobs

President, Steel and Engineering Workers’ Union of Nigeria (SEWUN), Emmanuel Adesanya (left); Consultant and Resource person, Prof. Sunday Ogunsade; Senior Deputy Secretary General, Paul Okonma; Senior Deputy Secretary, Salami Michael and Union Trustee, Clement Obasa, during the workshop in Abeokuta, Ogun State.

The Automobile arm of Steel and Engineering Workers’ Union of Nigeria (SEWUN), has called on the Federal Government to creatively come up policies that would reposition the economy.

They argued that the automobile industry is one sector that if well managed could create thousands of employment.

The union lamented that the sector, which before now had thousand of persons on its employment roll has now been reduced to mere after sales service due to high tariff imposed on new imported vehicles and high cost of new vehicles, among other unfavourable policies.

SEWUN’s National President, Elijah Adigun, stated this during the union’s annual industrial relations workshop in Abeokuta, Ogun State, where he also lamented that the influx of second-hand vehicles (Tokunbo) and inferior electrical cables from China has created an unhealthy business environment that has made negotiations almost impossible with the employers.

Speaking on the theme “Effective negotiation for achieving sustainable industrial harmony”, jointly organised with Bablink Consultancy Services, Adigun urged employers to embrace effective negotiation to maintain a peaceful industrial atmosphere and increase productivity.

He said the programme was meant to address conflict resolution, skill acquisition, management of union fund, labour laws and employment regulations, productivity and work ethics among others.

“Time was when our sector had thousands in its employ, unfortunately we have been reduced to mere after sales service just to survive. New vehicles are no longer affordable. Besides, the high tariff imposed on new imported vehicles is also high.

“We commend the Automobile industry for appreciating effective negotiation. We do hope employers in the precision industry will invite us any time soon because we cannot afford to create an industrial conflict at this time”.

Managing Partner, Bablink Consultancy Services, University of Ibadan, Ogunsade Sunday, on his part said, it was imperative that 21st Century union leaders make a radical shift from the traditional ways of doing things.

According to him, “We must imbibe new ideas that are in consonance with global best practices. Union officials must be exposed to various techniques involved in successful negotiation to maximize the gains of labour movement.”

The workshop noted that collective bargaining develops a sense of self respect and responsibility among the employees, increases the strength of the workforce, increases the morale and productivity of employees, strengthens the trade unions movement, builds confidence of employees, provides a flexible means for the adjustment of wages and employment conditions to economic and technological changes in the industry, as a result of which the chances for conflicts are reduced.

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