The second session of the Young Workers Training introduced young members of trade unions to Politics and Economy. This session forms part of a Nine-month programme of FES Nigeria, in collaboration with affiliates of IndustriAll Nigeria, Public Service International, informal workers organisation and civil society organisations in Lagos State. The project aims at increasing the active youth participation in Nigerian trade unions.
Despite the fundamental importance of young people to trade unions, they often have little understanding of how trade union’s function. During this module titled ‘Politics and Economy’, the facilitator Comrade Gbenga Komolafe, General Secretary of Federation of informal workers Organisation of Nigeria [FIWON] engaged the participants engaged in very intense debates and discussions.
The Module sought to provide participants with understanding of Politics and Economy as agents of class domination, exposed the current Political Economy within the Context of the Neo-liberal Ideology, explicate the Consequences of Neo-liberal Regime on the Socialization of Young People, explored the Impacts of neo-liberalism on the Workplace and drew the Implications for Organizing in a New Way.
The second day focused on the evolution of full -blown neo-liberal economic policies in Nigeria which dates to 1986, the consequences of this economic policies include massive retrenchments of workers, massive devaluation of the naira, embarked on full commercialization of education and healthcare services, massive privatization of public enterprises and trade liberalization. All of these led to closure of local industries, galloping inflation, wage cuts and reduced standards of living.
The participants called on organized labor to consider an appropriate response to the onslaught of workers and their organization by building a mass movement of all working people across the formal/informal, gender, social, technological, and sectoral divides. Such a movement must be grounded in working with other social forces in responding to issues beyond the workplace, in the communities, around security, climate change, poor municipal services especially potable water, electricity, public education and healthcare services. It must also galvanize a broad-based platform and/or political party to give organizational expression to workplace and broader development issues.
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