By Tosin Kolade
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is set to promote the interest and rights of all workers in the sub-region, while urging members to promote decent work for citizens.
Dr Siga Jagne, Commissioner for Social Affairs and Gender, ECOWAS, said this at the meeting of Ministers in charge of Labour and Employment in the ECOWAS sub-region on Friday in Abuja.
The theme of the meeting is: “strengthening social dialogue for the promotion of decent work in the ECOWAS region.”
Jagne said it was imperative that ECOWAS stakeholders including ministers of labour and employment in member states reached consensus on decent work agenda.
This, according to her, must take into account the need of the labour market, while protecting the interest and rights of all workers.
According to her, ECOWAS commission recognises that the social dialogue contributes to the overall cohesion of societies and is crucial for productivity and a well functioning region.
She said that without active collaboration and cooperation with stakeholders for the consolidation of peace and social cohesion, the objectives of the sub-region’s socio-economic development would be an illusion.
Mr Williams Alo, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Employment, said that the region could not afford to be paying lip service to the issue of labour administration in the sub-region.
He emphasised that it was time for the sub-region to make a radical departure from the past, if it was to bequeath onto future generations an ECOWAS sub-region that would achieve decent work.
He appealed to the region to demonstrate renewed commitment and passion in the implementation of programmes that would engender integration in the sub- region, in the area of labour administration.
According to him, the government and people of Nigeria as an integral part of ECOWAS will not shirk its responsibilities in that direction.
“We will continue to support the ECOWAS in its unabated determination to holistically address knotty employment and labour issues in the sub region,” he said.
Mr Dennis Zulu, Director, International Labour Organisation (ILO), called on members to use the opportunities provided by the ministerial meeting to ensure that ECOWAS’ social dialogue forum realised its potential.
He added that there was also need for the social dialogue to be effective, efficient and durable to enhance the quality of work and result in the labour and employment sector in the ECOWAS region.
He assured members that social dialogue would always be at the heart of ILO’s collaboration with its partners in the ECOWAS region, adding that ILO would always be ready to provide technical support for the work. (NAN)