The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) continues to be confronted with a complex multiplicity of challenges in the fulfillment of its mandate as a workers’ and popular organization. These challenges are defined increasingly by the constellation of economic, technological and political changes, which have radically re-configured the world under the growing hegemony of capital.
The dynamics of the emergent international political economy has had a profound effect on the Nigerian context. The country is locked more and more in the vice-grip of international finance capital, unleashing a political and policy regime that elevates the interests of capital over the interests of the people.
Under the overwhelming influence of neo-liberal theory, the Nigerian State is retreating rapidly from productive activities and the social sectors. This has led to massive loss of jobs and worsening of the human development situation, especially poverty and inequality. Although Nigeria has always been under capitalist rule, what distinguishes the current new liberal offensive from previous liberal strategies is its dramatic re-definition of the role of the state and the legitimation of the market and private capital as the exclusive driver of development.
This is the objective condition that has given impetus to the ascendancy of the anti-worker and anti-union managerial ethos that creates a race to the bottom of labour standards.
For the Nigerian Labour Congress [NLC], the challenges are clear-we must continue to re-build and re-tool our organization to operate effectively as a traditional defender of workers, working family and the working people.
The NLC naturally prides itself as one of the most representative federations in the world. It organizes blue and white collar workers, the professionals, pensioners, workers in informal and informal employment and the public and private sectors. Therefore, as an authentic working peoples’ organization, it must necessarily be capable of addressing the full diversity of the interests, rights and concern of the entirety of the working people. Today, NLC is also unarguably the most influential non-State actor in Nigeria. It must continue to sustain the capacity to articulate and defend national interests in relation to the onslaught of reactionary forces and their international patrons.
The Policy Document is prepared to lend greater clarity and consistency to the work of NLC as a workers’ organization concerned about improvements in the world of work, as a federation of the working people and as a major player in the Nigerian polity, economy and society.