By Henry Uche
The Lagos State Council of Trade Union Congress (TUC) has vowed never to tolerate any form of intimidation, abuse of workers’ Rights and other victimization from employers even in the face of global pandemic.
In a communique signed by the council’s Chairman and Secretary, Comrade Gbenga Ekundayo and Comrade Abiodun Aladetan, respectively, after a two day workshop organized by its leadership, on “Decent Work & employment Relations- The Impact For a Smart City”, the Congress warned employers particularly those in the private sector that the reported and unreported cases of victimization, sexual harassment, child/forced labour, threats, bullying, arbitrary disengagements, intimidations, casualization, witch-hunting and repression of workers and labour leaders in the State should stop forthwith.
TUC maintained that it would not hesitate to deploy all legitimate instrumentalities of law to resist and to rescue its members from the clutches of workplace evils, neoliberal vultures and vulgarities of the spineless oppressive employers that operates in Lagos State.
“TUC Lagos Council in a very strong term warns all employers to desist from actions or inactions that are capable of destroying the existing industrial peace and harmony that Lagos State is well noted for.
“The world of work is presently under attack and the Nigeria Labour Law now on trial due to the high reported cases of abuses of workers’ Rights in work places particularly since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. Hence the need for Labour leaders to fight for workers rights at all times,”
The Congress called for employers and labour leaders to promote decent work by ensuring that adequate measures and policies are put in place to encourage social integration, create a sense of personal worth and provide a measure of quality of life for the workers in line with International Labour Organization Convention 87(1948),98 (1949) 111(1958)105 (1957) etc.
They condemned in strong terms all forms of indecent work deployed by employers under the guise of casualization, outsourcing, ad-hoc staffing, slavery, child labour, arbitrary disengagement, etc which are antithetical to the tenets of decent work as guaranteed by several labour legislations.
“We commend the Lagos State Government for putting the welfare and interest of workers at the front burner despite the challenges posed by the pandemic on the resources of the State. We urge other employers of Labour to emulate the Lagos government who had continued to embark on recruitment and not retrenchment as a catalyst to rejigging the economy.
“We are committed to sustaining robust employee-employer relations through collective bargaining, dialogue, periodic meetings, workplace tours and mutual understanding in order to retain the hard-earned industrial harmony and workers welfare in Lagos State.
“While commending the maturity and firmness of labour leaders across affiliates, we shall not shirk our responsibilities to advocate, promote and struggle for decent work agenda that fosters availability of work which is freely chosen, productive, sustainable, equitable, fair, secure and promoting human dignity,”
They encouraged employers to promote decent work, occupational Health and Safety, global standards, best practices that guarantee fundamental principles and rights at work in consonance with the smart city agenda of the Lagos State government.
“Employers must depart from mere rhetorics and jaded innuendoes but enthrone reliable objectives to create equal opportunities for women and men of different social orientations to secure decent employment and income, eschew discrimination and inequality, enhance the coverage and effectiveness of social protection for all and strengthen tripartism and social dialogue.
“We urged employers of labour in Lagos State to prioritize training workers in line with the dynamics of smart city workplace and ever-evolving technological advancements, rather than sacking them arbitrarily, condemning them into the whirlpool of hopeless labour market or subjecting them to deplorable and traumatizing working conditions.
“Also there is need for both employers of Labour and Union leaders to choose negotiations and dialogue at all times and not allow lingering labour issues to snowball into industrial actions due to the negative impact it will have on the fragile economy of the country,” they added.