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Nigeria joins global trade union to mark decent work day

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[FILES] Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) president, Dr. Ayuba Wabba

Nigeria yesterday, joined the rest of the global trade union movement to mark the 2019 Decent Work Day.

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) described decent work as one that is secured and done by free workers, who are entitled to form trade unions and engage in collective bargaining to protect their rights at work.

At the celebration in Lagos with the theme, “Invest in the Care Economy”, labour unions reaffirmed their commitment to these ideals, alleging that the society has continued to face huge decent work deficits and widespread poverty.

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), which had a peaceful protest from Ikeja down to the government statehouse, carrying placards and chanting solidarity songs called on the government to increase investment in care to generate economic growth, tackle growing demographic challenges and help overcome gender discrimination by mainstreaming women in the economy.

The Lagos Chairperson of NLC, Funmi Sessi, said to create a decent work environment, the financial resource is key.

She called for tax reforms to bring more productive people into the tax net, progressive enough to ensure that the rich pay taxes commensurate to their income and responsive enough to ensure that taxes are applied to reduce social inequality.

Sessi added that there couldn’t be decent work without decent wages, saying: “The national minimum wage is the floor for decent wages. We call on all tiers of government in Nigeria to commence full implementation of the N30, 000 national minimum wages. Also, negotiations for the consequential salary adjustment must be concluded now so that all workers would have a reason to smile at the end of this October!”

Similarly, the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) accused banks of being the greatest culprits against decent work practice.
The President of TUC, Quadri Olaleye, bemoaned setting of unrealistic target for young ladies with all its implication on decency.

He also bemoaned casualisation, which he said is in the highest order, “so much so that half of the bank employees are either casuals or contract staff (still casualisation).

“I believe this is the period to partner with Association of Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions (ASSBIFI) to minimise this menace. My suggestion, therefore, is that the TUC and ASSBIFI secretariat should meet to strategise with a view to finding a permanent solution.”

While marking the day, ASSBIFI examined the present fundamental issue threatening the survival of workers in the finance sector.

Speaking on the theme: “Threat to Job security and Work-Life balance in a Digitalised Work Environment – the Legal Perspective”, ASSBIFI National President, Oyinkan Olasanoye, appealed to employers to always ensure that a healthy balance is achieved to enhance productivity for the business, stating that stressed and overwhelmed employees get less work done.

She said: “ My fellow workers, as employers keep coming up with innovations to the work environments, it has become necessary that we too should brace up by continuously up-skilling and investing in lifelong learning for better competence development.

“Let us strengthen our position and image as representative of workers and be ready always to rise against indecent labour practices in our workplace.”


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