Enhance economic equality policies to address Child Labour – NLC

The Nigeria Labour Congress has called for policies that would bridge the economic inequality gap to address the increasing rate of child labour across the globe.

Mr Joe Ajaero, NLC President said this on Wednesday while addressing journalists at the ongoing 111th Session of the International Labour Conference in Geneva, Switzerland.

Ajaero was reacting to the address delivered by the Director-General of the International Labour Organisation, Mr Gilbert Houngbo as the organisation marked Child Labour day on June 12.

Ajaero said that the issue of Child labour was a global phenomenon that is not peculiar to Nigeria alone.

According to him, it is the degree and the dimension that vary from country to country, from state to state and from time to time.

“So, I think whether it is this issue of child labour, we have made our own intervention trying to link it up or situate it with poverty, especially poverty of the parents.

“We were clear on that. You know, the more the parents are poor, the more they will turn the children to breadwinners in families.

“I equally try to say that in a country where you have about 133 million people who are multi dimensionally poor, it will be difficult for you to give them pass mark on the issue of child labour,” he said.

Ajaero said that some factors mitigating the issue of child labour in Nigeria include parents not working and some State governments not paying minimum wage.

“Children will go out to the street, some to hawk, some to work especially in the construction industries where you see child labour very prevalent.

“In such situation, even if you come up with legislation to outlaw child labour, and you are not doing anything to bridge the income inequality or the poverty level in the country, it will not have any effect in a country that is ravaged by militancy and by kidnappers,” he mentioned.

On the issue of apprenticeship which the ILO also discussed at this year’s conference, Ajaero said that each county must come up with its own unique laws with acceptable remuneration and timeline of conversion for the apprentice.

Ajaero said. “Well, my understanding is that every country designs their policy, their rules, while connecting to the global practice or convention as it will suit them.

“The ILO is having the idea of payment of those people on apprenticeship and their unionization.”

Using the Southeast Nigeria as example, the NLC President said that apprenticeship is as old as life in that area, adding that it is an unwritten agreement that has worked for the people.


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