By Henry Uche, Lagos
The Lagos State Council of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) has set out to establish an agricultural cooperative for its members, with the aim of bringing workers into the agri-business value chain.
In a New Year message signed by the Lagos State Chairman and Secretary, Gbenga Ekundayo and Abiodun Aladetan, respectively, the TUC said the move is intended to intensify efforts at ensuring that workers become financially stable through agri-business.
According to the statement, the TUC has been able to secure Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s approval for the creation of a Workers’ Village, noting that the establishment would help to reduce housing stress and deficit in the state as they gain some traction on physical allocation from the Lands Bureau.
‘As a way of improving the livelihood of our members, the State Council has set the ball rolling for the establishment of an Agric Cooperative for workers with the aim of bringing workers into the Agro business value chain. The framework is currently under development, we shall be notified once completed,’ the TUC statement read.
‘We saw the terrible impact on many businesses just as we watched the economies of nations slid into recession, ours inclusive, while friends and families lost jobs. Indeed, the year 2020 posed a lot of challenges to the world of work and to us as Union leaders.
‘We must confess that it has not been a jolly ride but we were able to navigate this yet-to-be-over stormy weather through creativity, adaptation, determination and passion to serve. We maintained constant engagement with all concerned authorities with proactive and realistic ways of problem-solving.
‘Apart from some of our direct interventions in union matters, we equally decided to address some of the concerns of our members in the areas of housing and financial empowerment, though significantly slowed down by the lockdown.’
They maintained that in spite of the challenges in 2020, it came along with certain opportunities and lessons which, if maximized by leaders at all levels, could encourage improvement in efficiency while breaking barriers of time and distance. However, apart from the gloomy picture created by 2020, they look and approach 2021 with hope and enthusiasm.
‘This is another opportunity for us to re-appraise our decisions and choices while also prioritizing appropriately with available scarce resources. For us as State Council, we intend to pursue vigorously our housing projects to ensure that workers housing needs are addressed through the availability of affordable housing schemes.
‘Despite all these, we shall not lose focus on general welfare issues affecting our members. We shall continue to engage management and governments meaningfully on policies and programmes that will promote development, industrial peace and harmony in the State. The Council remains optimistic that 2021 is a time of recovery and actualization of dreams and expectations,’ the statement read.