In Nigeria, the Solidarity Center is helping unions band together to stamp out illegal anti-worker hiring practices, protect the rights of workers in Nigeria’s oil-rich Niger Delta, and apply new strategic research and organizing models.
Because Nigeria is the most populous African nation, with an economy that relies highly on the volatile oil sector, economic events in Nigeria have a regional, continental, and global impact. Oil riches in Nigeria have not translated into wealth for workers, and their situation is insecure, with increased outsourcing and casualization of the workforce. Nigeria’s oil unions have advocated consistently for better living conditions throughout the country. Their pro-democracy activism during the era of military rule in Nigeria and their continued efforts for democratic and economic reform today have placed oil unions at the forefront of Nigeria’s democracy movement. The Solidarity Center works with Nigerian oil unions around internal union democracy, community relations, and workplace health and safety.
In 2007, the Nigeria Labor Congress elected new leaders, who inherited a changing and fractured labor movement. That election, combined with a change in Nigeria’s labor laws, created a need for the Solidarity Center to help implement a new comprehensive organizing model, based on the AFL-CIO’s Organizing Institute. Since NLC affiliates have begun using the new model, union membership has skyrocketed. In 2008, nearly 10,000 hotel and security workers joined unions.
Nigerian Labor Activist: I Want Government to Be Accountable.
May 30, 2012—Sessi Agnes Funmi has the simple goal of awakening the “sleeping giant.” That’s how her Nigerian union has been tagged, she said. And it’s starting to work.
Corporations Should Be Held Accountable in Nigeria.
February 28, 2012—Today the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum (Shell), which pits a Nigerian plaintiff, Esther Kiobel, against Anglo-Dutch oil and energy giant Shell.
Nigerian Unions Claim Victory in Fuel Subsidy Battle.
January 18, 2012—Nigerian unions have called off a general strike that, with broad support from the public, crippled the country for more than a week after the government partially restored a crucial fuel subsidy. With the subsidy abandoned, the price of gas and other essentials more than tripled. While the protests were largely peaceful, at least 10 people were killed and hundreds wounded in the course of the strike, which began January 9.
General Strikes over Fuel Subsidy Removal Paralyze Nigeria.
January 9, 2012—Shops, airports, offices, and schools across Nigeria were shut down on the first day of an indefinite strike called to protest the Nigerian government’s removal of a longstanding fuel subsidy that more than doubles the price of oil and gas.
3,000 Nigerian Telecom Workers Rehired after Union-Led Protest.
November 7, 2011—A multinational telecommunications company was forced to reverse the firings of 3,000 workers in its Abuja and Lagos call centers following a nationwide job action that disrupted service to millions of customers nationwide. The protest was led by the National Union of Post and Telecommunications Employees and the Nigeria Labour Congress.
Nigerian Women Activists Threatened, Beaten by Government Officials.
October 25, 2011—Leaders of the Women Initiative for Transparency and Social Justice (WITSOJ), a coalition of women activists from unions, lawyers and journalists associations, and community-based groups in the Niger Delta, were beaten and threatened when they demanded better conditions at a decrepit local hospital, and police were forced to intervene.
In Niger Delta, Oil Companies Push Temporary Jobs While Workers and Communities Are Left Behind.
April 7, 2011—The degradation of work in the oil-rich Niger Delta jeopardizes the livelihoods and well-being of workers and their families and results in fewer opportunities for Nigerians to improve working and living conditions, especially in local communities, which have seen little benefit from the profitable sector, according to a new report by the Solidarity Center.
Letter from National Union of Postal and Telecommunications Employees (Nigeria) General Secretary Edherue Benedict to Solidarity Center Country Program Director Jason Campbell in support of Wisconsin state public employees, March 16, 2011.
See what workers around the world
are doing to support their union brothers and sisters in Wisconsin.
Nigerian Oil Workers Take Steps Toward Creating a Safe Environment
. With support from the Solidarity Center, Nigerian oil and gas unions are challenging the use of toxic chemicals, long banned in many countries, that poison workers and their communities.
U.S. Steelworkers, Nigerian Oil Workers: Partners in Health and Safety
. In April 2008, as part of a Solidarity Center project, a group of trainers from the United Steelworkers union (USW)
traveled to Nigeria to conduct a week of occupational health and safety workshops for oil workers.
Nigerian Unions Address Gender Imbalances in the Fight Against HIV/AIDS
. In Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, 5.6 percent of the adult population is infected with HIV. Social and cultural norms in Nigeria often deprive women workers of the education and power needed to ensure safe sex practices.
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