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FOBTOB seeks ministry of Labour’s intervention over redundancy in sector

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Head, Human Resources, Dangote Flour Mills, Datti Danguma (left); Senior Special Assistant (SSA) on Labour to Governor of Ekiti State, Oluyemi Esan; National President, Food, Beverage and Tobacco Senior Staff Association (FOBTOB), Olaleye Quadri; Executive Secretary, Association of Food, Beverage and Tobacco Employers (AFBTE), Adewale Jones and Deputy National President, FOBTOB, Jimoh Oyibo during official commissioning of FOBTOB Hostel Project 3 at the Federal University, Oye-Ekiti, Ekiti State.

• Commissions hostel to reduce students’ housing challenge 
The Food, Beverage and Tobacco Senior Staff Association (FOBTOB) has sought the intervention of the Ministry of Labour and Employment in resolving the challenges confronting the sector.

The idea is to and save jobs as employers have embarked on massive redundancy.

The union said while it wasbattling with negotiations on redundancy and unwholesome practices, some employers are terminating members appointments without due process. It said and that witch-hunting had been the order of the day in the sector.

National President of FOBTOB, Quadri Olaleye, stated this during the commissioning of FOBTOB Hostel Project 3, a 42 standard rooms hostel for students at the Federal University, Oye-Ekiti in Ekiti State over the weekend.

He said the coronavirus pandemic, coupled with scarcity of foreign exchange, low sales, high cost of production, border closure for over a year and difficult operating environment had brought about redundancy in the sector as employers could no longer cope with meeting demands of the workforce.

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Olaleye, however, said the union had also been struggling through negotiation with the employers to ensure the number of people that would be affected as a result of retrenchment were minimised.

He said the union also ensured organisations carrying out redundancy pay the affected workers their benefits in line with the constitution and enterprise agreement.

According to him: “For now I have more than five companies that sent letter to us that they want to carry out redundancy and we have started negotiations. I also have a lot of witch-hunting cases. We are battling with this and if necessary we are going to call the attention of the Ministry of Labour to intervene.

“Our employers complain that forex is not available because production has gone up and the operational environment is so difficult that they cannot sell their products, coupled with the fact that the border had been closed more than a year now, which is affecting sales of products. As a result of that they said they need to shed their weight on the number of employees.”

Prior to the commissioning of hostel, the union which also had its Central Working Committee (CWC) and National Executive Council (NEC) meeting where it tasked the Federal Government on the need to urgently address corruption, pointing that it had eaten deep into governance system of the present administration.

Olaleye, who is also the President of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), maintained that corruption was the only problem Nigeria had and has taken away the joy of the citizenry.
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The FOBTOB boss, who urged President Muhammadu Buhari and the three arms of government to take the issue of anti-corruption seriously, added that the judiciary system should be reformed adding, “if the judiciary appropriate punishment to whoever commits corruption, by now corruption should a thing of the past. We know we cannot bring it to zero, but at least, let us fight it to a reasonable level. We plead with the Federal Government to work seriously to carry out forensic audits on the cases of NDDC, NCDC, NSITF and the rest of these agencies to restore Nigerian’s confidence.”

In his remark, representative of the Governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi, Senior Special Assistant on Labour, Oluyemi Esan, restated the governor’s commitment to workers’ welfare and pledged to partner with the union on developmental projects.

Speaking on the commissioning, Olaleye said: “We felt we should do more to the economy and also to be a good reference point for people that are leading us and our members, on how we all can partner in developing the country or wherever we belong to. We also see it as a give back to our members.

“Our members have their children in various universities across the country, and we had information that more than five to six students sleep in the same room all in the name of education. We believe the kind of leadership that such environment will bring up will not be good for the country.

“We want to change the narrative to make sure that we cater for the students and also catch them young, work on their mentality so that when they find themselves on the position of leadership tomorrow, they can also understand what we call standard, what an education or study environment should look like. We are after giving back and thinking of how to change the orientation and narrative on ground of more than five students sleeping in the same room. This is in addition to the already commissioned hostels in Kwara State University, in 2017 and Auchi Polytechnic, Edo State in 2018. That is the mindset and with God we are achieving it.”

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