The Punch (Nigeria) | Friday, 19 Sep 2008
NLC, Liberian labour oppose signing of EPAs
By Oscarline Onwuemenyi, Abuja
The Nigerian Labour Congress and the Liberia Labour Congress have joined their voices in the clamour for West African governments not to sign the Economic partnership Agreements, as proposed by the European Union.
The two congresses said in a statement jointly signed by the President of NLC, Mr. Abdulwahab Omar, President of LLC, Mr. Moses P. Barwror, Jr, as well as the secretaries of both unions, at the end of a two-day bilateral meeting, in Abuja.
According to the statement, "NLC and LLF reaffirmed their opposition to the Economic Partnership Agreement being touted by the European Union, noting that EPAs will flood our markets with dumped goods and undermine value addition.”
It called on African governments to resist the EPAs in the interest of the region’s economic sovereignty.
The meeting also expressed concern over what it termed "the neoliberal onslaught, which has opened the policy space to anti-people measures and intensified the abdication of State responsibilty in the area of social provisioning.”
It added, "Both congresses remain convinced that the market-driven neo-liberal policies are anti-development, undermine decent work and subvert the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals.”
The meeting further expressed the need for the trade union movement to partner with their governments and the ECOWAS towards the promotion of peace, security, democracy and development in the West African sub-region.
In this context, the meeting urged ECOWAS to develop mechanisms for involving and partnering with the trade union movement, noting that at the moment, the synergy between the body and the workers’ movement was poor.
The NLC and LLC further reaffirmed their committment to the challenge of posing and mobilising around alternative development strategies. They also expressed committment to playing more active roles in the movement against globalisation and neo-liberalism.
According to the statement, the NLC and LLC agreed to work together to enhance their effectiveness in the areas of trade union administration and governance, organising and membership mobilisation.