The Nigerian Labour Congress, (NLC), has called on the federal government to map out a national employment plan in order to adequately fight insecurity and other social vices bedevilling the nation.
The Congress also announced plans to hold a mass rally in the nation’s capital on Thursday October 7th as a way to push for better working conditions and other demands for its members.
Speaking at a Round table on Decent Work Situation in Nigeria organised by the NLC in Abuja on Wednesday, its President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba stated that casualisation of labour in Nigeria amidst the challenging times of seeking for Labour has become very pervasive.
Ayuba said permanent jobs on a daily basis are converted to casuals, which means those workers have no social protection, no right and in most cases labour standards are undermined.
He said lack of decent jobs is frustrating the Nigerian youths both skilled and unskilled and making them helpless in the hands of manipulating individuals who easily recruit them for thuggery and other criminal activities.
He also stated that it was high time the minimum was reviewed considering the current economic situation and inflation rate which has dwindled the purchasing power of Nigerians by 90 percent.
“I must use the opportunity of today to call on our government at all levels to adopt a national employment plan and I mean decent employment which is the recipe to addressing peace and stability.
“When we have many of our youths, both the ones that are trained and those who are not trained that are looking for jobs and the jobs are not there they will certainly be the tools in the hands of those that want to manipulate them.
Full employment must come to the centre stage in our recovery plan to COVID19.
“We must reduce informality in our system by more than half because prioritising that is what is on the agenda of countries around the world.
“We need jobs that are decent. We need jobs that respect the rights of workers and not only the rights of workers, but jobs that also respect freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining. We need jobs that respect the maximum working hours and when you exceed the 10 hours work per day, there should be provisions for overtime. We need a job and a system that can provide a living minimum wage. Comrades today that the 30,000 minimum wage has been reduced to nothing.
“The purchasing powers of more than 90 percent of Nigerians have been reduced one, because of the standard of inflation and also because of the rising cost of dollars. Today the exchange rate to the dollar can longer predictable. Prices of things have extremely sky rocked and workers have been left in a state of destitution. This can not be considered decent.
“These demands are not just demands that we are making, it is what is obtainable in the rest of the world.
“It is said that Labour creates the wealth yet after creating the wealth, few of our politicians feast on the wealth. They receive humongous salaries and allowances after working only for four years. In fact if we analyse the few years in terms of inputs put into hourly work it may not be up to 2 years. Yet a worker who has served for 35 can not get his benefits.
“We must take responsibility and provide. We will continue to say no precarious working conditions. We will continue to say no to casualisation of labour We will continue to say no to jobs that do not respect human dignity. We must say no to modern day slavery in working conditions.
“That is why the event today will be supported by a mass rally tomorrow to sneak on those issues so that our politicians will know that that we are not only sneaking but that we will also be on the streets.
“That fundamental right to protest freely is a right that can not be taken away, it is a right that cannot be wished away. It is right that is global and it is a right that we must express.
In his remarks the Minister of Labour and Employment Chris Ngige, commended the NLC’s commitment towards uplifting workers plight in the nation.
The Minister who was represented by his Permanent Secretary, Mr Yerima Tarfa said he would continue to do all within his power to ensure that the welfare of the Nigerian workers is improved. He disclosed that efforts are ongoing to ensure that the labour act which is currently being reviewed is passed into bill as soon as possible.