Organised labour in the textile sector has vowed to resist any attempt to slash or deny its members their salaries on account of COVID-19.
The president of the union, John Adaji, said it supported the position of the labour centre, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), on the fact that no worker should be victimised on account of the pandemic.
“We join the Nigeria Labour Congress and the global labour movement to call on the government and private sector employers in particular to protect jobs and ensure full pay for all workers, particularly at this period of COVID-19 pandemic, through a variety of means, mutually agreed through collective bargaining,” he said.
He noted that, as rightly observed by both the NLC and Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA), workers’ salaries are core elements of employment contracts and collective bargaining agreements.
He said it is more necessary than ever for both employers and labour to consult each other and collaborate on this and other issues of vital importance to the survival and growth of the organisation and welfare of workers.
Adaji said the union would continue to intensify campaigns for productivity improvement on the part of its members and at the same time maintain zero tolerance for exploitation and violation of workers’ rights.
He said, “As economic activity gradually resumes, we call on our members to redouble their efforts towards productivity improvement.
COVID-19 is far from being over. We must, therefore, continue to observe the preventive measures both at home and workplaces; wear your face masks and hand gloves, wash your hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer regularly, maintain social distancing, avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth and stay informed by following advice given by public health authorities.
He charged employers to take necessary measures to prevent the spread of the virus at workplaces, maintaining that employers must provide adequate protective equipment for workers, to avoid workplace transmission.
The union president stated that the textile union would continue to partner and support President Muhammadu Buhari in his determination to revive the industry, create decent jobs and rebuild the nation’s economy.
He added that, “We salute President Muhammadu Buhari for his unprecedented commitment to revive the labour-intensive textile industry. We acknowledge the bold and innovative measures by his administration to revive the cotton, textile and garment sector in line with the vision to diversify the nation’s economy.”
Speaking on the significance of May Day, Adaji said it offers workers the great opportunity to celebrate the dignity of labour, stating that, for the working class, it is a period of reflection and a period to celebrate the role of workers in the fight for democracy and social justice.
“It is a special day to draw global attention to the plight of workers worldwide,” he said.