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Doctrines & Morals
 
 
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EXPOUNDING ON THE ETHICS OF WORK

Cont. from last week

However, one has to consider the position of the workers. For employees at the level of the work force, these types of employment constitute a necessity of life that cannot be replaced. The situation is slightly different at managerial level.

The right to strike is also an important point or aspect to reflect upon when talking of work and workers on the basis of ethics. Relationships between employers and employees have developed within the context of class struggle. A lively debate marked the theological reflection of a few years ago on whether it could be interpreted in relation to the Christian precept of universal love. Objections were also raised because of the basically Marxist origin of the concept as well as its unclear, if not equivocal, contents. Nowadays, the debate is not so prominent because of the actual situation of workers. Within this context it is opportune to examine the right to strike as it is already so common in Nigeria. Currently, strike is used as a means of pressure in the formulation of contracts as to exact the maximum benefits a category considers it has the right to. This used to apply principally to workers in the industry. It is now used also by workers in the services. Partly, the problem exists because of lack of specifications of this right in the current legislation. But it has a wider moral implication. Traditionally, Catholic theology recognised the right of strike as a means for obtaining better and more just work conditions, provided violence was avoided. However, in the context of solidarity in work, the right to strike continues to have a valid application in the effort to achieve a better justice for the workers. It is understood that the strike is not used as a means for claims which become unreasonable and selfish - concerned with a single category of workers or a single type of work. Moreover, special attention ought to be given to services where the right to strike would cause disruption to people and may endanger lives. It is also up to the workers' associations and unions as well as to the individuals to assess the value and the consequences of a strike; thus, people should be able to decide honestly and without undue pressure on the means to use in order to achieve better social justice!

-FR DR JAMES NGAHY, M. AFR.

Jngahy@yahoo.com

 


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