Labour and civil society organisations have agreed to establish or reestablish ties and identify areas of joint concern for campaigns to tackle the shrinking civic space.

They reached the agreement at a two-day meeting on “Building and strengthening ties between labour and civil society organisations,” in Abuja on May 7 and 8.

Stakeholders at the meeting were Trade Union Congress, TUC; Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees, AUPCTRE; Federation of Informal Workers Organisation of Nigeria, FIWON; Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa, CAPPA, and the Environmental Rights Action, ERA, among others.

Other objectives of the meeting were identifying perceptions, needs, challenges and shared areas of interest between the labour and civil society organisations;

Encourage new thinking on labour-civil society relations and coordination that is inspired by current challenges and opportunities for joint campaign and advocacy transformative governance, and the building and consolidation of active solidarity.

The parley, preceded by two initial consultative meetings with a cross-section of CSOs and labour, was put together by Solidarity Centre, with Jaye Gaskia of Praxis Centre as the Facilitator and co-convener for the Initiative.

Also, participants identified some critical challenges to include, but not restricted to the different modes of operation and organisation of labour and civil society; the distinctive characteristics of both stakeholders.

Others are the decline of the labour movement, the students’ movement and the civil society; the absence of political and politicised labour leadership; deradicalisation of the content and form of labour education; and civil society capacity building programmes among others.

It was agreed that there is a need for labour and civil society to work together and, in the strength of this premise, put things in motion to reverse the trend.

The meeting agreed to initiate a Campaign for Transformative Governance, with the central theme on corruption and insecurity, and their deleterious impact the trajectory of human development.

This Campaign for Transformative Governance, it was agreed, will be organised and propagated through three thematic pillars of accessible and efficient public services delivery; promotion of human security; and political education for transformative governance.

They maintained that the health and character of the active solidarity between labour and pro-labour civil society organisations is key to promoting and ensuring transformative governance that responds to and meets the basic needs of citizens, and delivers accessible, qualitative and available public services in an efficient way.

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