By Bimbola Oyesola
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), yesterday, vowed to resist states planning mass sack of workers over lean revenue and need to dissipate funds for capital projects.
President of NLC, Ayuba Wabba, who stated this at the sixth national delegates conference of the National Union of Civil Engineering Construction, Furniture and Wood Workers (NUCECFWW), in Asaba, Delta State, said mass sack of workers would increase the country’s security problem and must be resisted by labour.
Wabba, who was represented by Acting General Secretary, Ismail Bello, said the spate of desperate crimes and agitations in the country must alert Nigerians to the grim reality that many are losing hope and faith in life itself.
“We warn state governments planning to sack workers en-masse that we will dare you, we will resist you and by God’s grace, we will win. We must not allow this dangerous descent to continue. This is why we will continue to resist the mass sack of workers. We made that statement recently in Kaduna State that organised labour will not allow a few selfish politicians to exacerbate the state of insecurity in our society by throwing many Nigerians under the bus of unemployment.”
He said the NLC believes those presently engaged and workers who have retired from active service must be paid living wages and pension.
He said this explains labour’s belief that the national minimum wage, pension for retired workers and general industrial administration must be retained in the Exclusive Legislative List in line with global standard.
“This is the expectation of international instruments and laws which Nigeria is signatory to. We’ve canvassed this at the different zonal and national public hearings on ongoing review of Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution. We urge members of the legislature at both federal and state level not to be seduced by the argument of a few self-centred members of the political class to deregulate the national minimum wage, pension and industrial administration in Nigeria by removing it from the Exclusive Legislative List to the Concurrent List.”
Reflecting on the theme of the Conference, “Infrastructural development as a panacea for unemployment and insecurity,” Wabba said it resonated with the mood of the nation.
“Never in the history of our country have we been besieged by the twin evils of high rate of unemployment, under-employment and insecurity. According to data by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), unemployment figures in Nigeria has reached an all-time high of 33.3% in the last quarter of 2020 from 27.1 per cent in the second quarter of 2020. The high unemployment comes at a very high security cost as our country has continued to degenerate into a space for diverse criminal operations and activities.”
Deputy Governor of Delta State, Kingsley Burutu Otuaro, who represented the Delta Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, reiterated the importance of infrastructure development, stating that it is the key driver to economic development and major facts that determines the people wellbeing, their level of prosperity and poverty.