Bimbola Oyesola , [email protected]
Nigerian workers have been advised to come to terms with the fact that new technology, sooner or later, may take over over most of the jobs in the real sector and other allied services.
This is even as the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) and Association of Senior Staff Union of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institution (ASSBIFI) have called on government and employers of financial workers to expose their workers to required training that would be commensurate with new technology.
Speaking at this year’s World Day for Decent Work celebration tagged, “Threat To Job Security and Work-Life Balance in a Digitalised Environment- A Legal Perspective,” organised by ASSBIFI, TUC president, Comrade Quadri Olaleye, said there is no doubt that technology would soon take over jobs from workers but there should be due consultation with labour unions and payment of severance allowance to those that would lose their jobs.
“In an environment enabled by technology and digital devices, job opportunities are usually affected. In Nigeria, automation is still developing but we must not pretend as if it will not get to us soon, it is here already” he said.
Quadri added that it was important for the unions and workers generally to come to the realization of the trend and seriously prepare for the challenges ahead.
He noted that, with the advent of new technology, there is need for workers to strike a balance between career and family, as it has become a challenge for workers, as schedules are getting busier and tighter thereby posing a serious threat to personal lives and family.
He reiterated that, studies have shown that employees who have a positive work life balance do better at work, adding that promoting this balance is beneficial to both the individual and the organisation.
He however reasoned that it is very important for both employers and government to train workers in order for them to catch up with future development.
According to Olaleye, one of the excuses employers give to lay off workers is purchase of new technology.
“As technology becomes more fine-tuned and widespread, I wonder how many people will still have job in the nearest future. As it stands, even the high earning CEOs are under constant pressure, especially those who have no culture of saving”, he said.
He stressed that workers must think outside the box to remain relevant.
He added that there is need to put more pressure on government especially ministry of Labour and employers to ensure decent work.
“As workers’ body, we must encourage our employers to train and re-train the workers for productivity. We must make them understand that we are in a symbiotic relationship for a common good.
The ASSBIFI President, Comrade Oyinkan Olasanoye in her address also reiterated the need for employers to train their workers.
She explained that the theme of the seminar was intended to examine the impact of ICT tools, robots, automated machines and artificial intelligence on work life balance and occupational hazards.
She stated that financial management should be conscious to train workers because they need people to operate the new technology.
She said, “The employers are now spending more money on automated machines and if one individual is laid off work, it would affect 20 dependants.
“Advances in technology are certainly allowing us to work in new ways that weren’t possible in the past without such constraints as location. At the same time, it has changed how we work and who we work with.
“Jobs are now assigned outside normal working hours, weekends and holidays with expectation of prompt delivery. The implication of this technology trend on work life balance, occupational hazards and right to disconnect? It is legally challengeable by workers in Nigeria without threat to job loss.”