Nigerian Labor Congress Joins ILAW Network

Nigerian Labor Congress Joins ILAW Network

The Nigerian Labor Congress (NLC) hosted the founding of the Nigeria chapter of the International Lawyers Assisting Workers Network (ILAW) this week. The event was part of the nationwide union’s efforts to strengthen global ties to advance worker rights. More than 20 legal practitioners and scholars attended the event and are among ILAW’s newest members.

Rule of Law, Nigeria, Nigerian Labor Congress, Solidarity Center, unions

The Nigerian Labor Congress hosted the founding of the Nigeria chapter of ILAW this week. Credit: Moses Umaru, NLC

Speaking at a press conference in Abuja to announce the partnership, NLC President Ayuba Wabba said ILAW will provide an opportunity for lawyers in the country to connect directly with the International Labor Organization (ILO) and with labor lawyers around the world. “The whole essence of working in synergy is to continue to provide for the interest of workers, and defend human rights,” he said.

ILAW, a project of the Solidarity Center, now includes nearly 300 members from more than 50 countries. Launched last November, ILAW seeks to bring together legal practitioners and scholars to best represent the rights and interests of workers and their organizations and effectively advocate for workers in a global working environment. The ILAW Network is supported by an advisory board, comprised of 20 lawyers from 20 countries, with expertise on a broad range of legal matters.

In Nigeria, where jobs increasingly are contracted out and workers are forced into low-paying, insecure informal economy work, Wabba sees ILAW as another tool for strengthening the labor movement by coordinating efforts to counter the anti-worker moves by employers.

The challenges workers face in Nigeria are similar to those around the world—making collaboration of lawyers in multiple legal jurisdictions essential, says Jeff Vogt, Solidarity Center Rule of Law director and ILAW board chair.

“ILAW will always stand for, and protect the rights of workers and trade unions across the globe and in Nigeria,” says Vogt.

Nigeria, ILAW, Nigerian Labor Congress, Solidarity Center, unions, rule of law

More than 20 legal practitioners and scholars took part in launching the country’s ILAW chapter. Credit: Moses Umaru, NLC

The Federal Capital Territory chapter of the Nigerian Bar Association also welcomed the partnership. “As an association of lawyers in Nigeria, we want to be part of this network,” said attorney Emmanuel Adedeyi.

In short, said Wabba, the partnership with ILAW means that “when you are in the courtroom as lawyers, we will also be on the street to compliment what you are doing in the courtroom—and that is the whole essence of us working together.”

ILAW membership includes access to legal resources and worker rights lawyers around the world. Find out more.


Global Unions Urge Jordan to Withdraw Harsh Labor Laws

Global Unions Urge Jordan to Withdraw Harsh Labor Laws

Jordan’s Senate is set to consider amendments to the country’s labor code that will restrict worker’ fundamental rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining and that fail to address Jordan’s longstanding limitations on worker rights, according to the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), which is joined by global unions in condemning the proposal and urging legislators to withdraw it.

The amendments, passed in recent weeks by the country’s House of Representatives, increase restrictions on freedom of association by requiring the Ministry of Labor to approve union bylaws when they register with the government. The amendments also give the Labor Ministry the authority to dissolve unions and impose fines and imprisonment for those who continue union activities for a dissolved union.

(Tell the Jordan government to bring the country’s labor laws in line with international standards.)

Since 1976, no new trade union has been allowed to form in Jordan, which also prohibits migrant workers—who comprise a large portion of the Jordanian workforce—from forming unions. Jordan labor laws also permit unions in only 17 sectors set by the government, and only one union per sector is allowed to represent workers. Most recently, the government rejected the registration of an independent union in the agriculture sector because agriculture is not on the government’s list.

The International Labor Organization (ILO), which also sent Jordan’s minister a memo detailing the amendments’ violations of international labor law, has repeatedly pointed out Jordan’s failure abide by ILO conventions on freedom of association and collective bargaining.

Independent unions in Jordan are also pushing back on the proposed amendments, with workers protesting at parliament and union leaders writing open letters to the government urging lawmakers follow international labor standards.

Read the Jordan Federation of Independent Trade Unions press release and letter (Arabic) and the Jordanian Network for Human Rights letter (Arabic).

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