NLC reiterates call for labour, employers’ inclusion in NCCC governing structures

THE Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has again called for immediate inclusion of workers and employers’ representatives in the governing structures of the National Council on Climate Change (NCCC).

NLC reiterated the demand in Abuja on Monday at the trade union’s two-day post Conference of the Parties (COP) 28 review meeting, organised in partnership with the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

Representing Comrade Emma Ugboaja, the General Secretary of NLC, Comrade Uche Ekwe, said: “Nigeria Labour Congress renews our demand for the inclusion of labour and employers’ representatives on the governing structures of National Council on Climate Change.

“This demand becomes expedient now as the review of the Climate Change Act gets underway.

“In order to achieve an evidence-led advocacy, the NLC research on Just Transition (a lexicon borrowed from the trade union movement), anchored by Dr Salamatu Fada, brought to fore the following profound data: That in the face of climate change realities, impact and the push for a Just Transition, there will be a 53 percent expected job losses. This implies a 53 percent job risk.

“It is expected that 48 percent of the job losses would occur in Nigeria’s agriculture sector. This is not surprising given that most Nigerians are involved in different forms of agricultural employment and activities.

“Currently, there is 67 percent awareness on climate change and its impact. This corroborates other research results. Yet, this is not indicative of deep appreciation by the population of climate change implications for jobs, livelihood, resilience and sustainability.

“The grim reality that 81.4 percent of Nigerian workers lack insurance against potential job losses brings to the fore our demand for social protection to protect vulnerable workers who may not be able to transit and so reduce transition resistance; the fact that 87.4 percent of Nigerian workers are financially unable to transit to the green economy of today and the future.

“While we continue to press for justice for workers in the Just Transition, we must remember that the scourge of climate change induced and related conflicts, especially in Africa including Nigeria and Sudan, increase vulnerability to climate shocks and exacerbate the impact of climate change. The role of capitalism expansion through unwholesome exploitation of natural minerals and the appetite for resource hegemony in these conflicts must be condemned and rejected by all.”

Delivering a goodwill message at the meeting, ILO Senior Specialist, Workers’ Activities, Abuja Office, Ms Inviolata Chinyangarara, said: “Climate change is the single biggest health threat facing humanity. Climate impacts are already harming jobs, health, through air pollution, disease, extreme weather

events, forced displacement, pressures on mental health and increased hunger and poor nutrition in places where people cannot grow or find sufficient food.

“Is climate change a human rights issue? The answer is yes. Climate change threatens the effective enjoyment of a range of human rights including those to life, water and sanitation, food, health, housing, self-determination, culture and development.

“Is climate change a trade union issue? There is no doubt that for trade unionists, climate change raises important questions about social justice, equity and human rights across countries and generations.

“There is a direct link between emissions and inequality. Those in poorer countries are likely to suffer more from climate events and catastrophes, while poorer households find it harder to make energy saving measures. Trade unions have an important role to play in pushing governments for action with policies like a new green deal.”

“Climate change is a union issue and trade unions must play their part in leading efforts to tackle it. It is now time for action. Trade unions must engage in current climate negotiations with a message of commitment, solidarity, and action.

“I must congratulate the NLC for the several national, regional and global initiatives aimed at strengthening workers’ knowledge and understanding on climate change and Just Transition. Some of these initiatives have been implemented in collaboration with partners such as the FES and the Solidarity Centre.”

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