NLC flays government’s incessant maltreatment of workers
Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), has cautioned the Federal Government against the ill treatment of workers nationwide during a national day protest held recently.
The union appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari, and Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige to immediately prevail on the governors of Benue, Imo and Nassarawa states, to respect Nigeria labour law, stop wage cut and arbitrary redeployment of workers to the farms as a way of avoiding full pay.
Speaking at a protest held by workers in Lagos, against the recent killing of two workers in Nassarawa State by Government House security operatives as well as the increasing violations of workers’ rights in the country, National Executive Council member of the NLC and Chairman of Industrial Global Union, Sub Saharan Africa, Issa Aremu, said that the protest and strike in Nassarawa would continue until the perpetrators of the heinous crime was brought to book.
Aremu stated, “Labour matters are on the exclusive Federal list of 1999 constitution. It is therefore, illegal and unconstitutional for these governors as employers of labour to arbitrarily violate the terms of contract of their workers with respect to pay and work schedule.”
He added that Nassarawa State Governor, Tanko Al-Makura, had arbitrarily cut workers’ pay by 50 per cent and also threatened to sack striking workers who protested the 50 per cent wage cut and replace them with “fresh graduates”.
Aremu added, “No colonial governor during the hated British colonialism so verbally casualised the dignity of labour with respect to contracts of employment on pay and tenure as Governor, Tanko Al-Makura unacceptably did.”
The Labour leader also condemned and described as illegal, the emergency “Back to Land for Agriculture” programme of the Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, and his Benue State counterpart which reduces working days of workers.
Aremu decried the fact that increasingly labour as a factor of production, wealth generation and public service delivery is fast becoming an endangered specie in Nigeria.
He stated, “There have been unacceptable multiple assaults on workers’ rights through delayed and non-payment of salaries, retrenchment and recent illegal compulsory directive turning workers to instant/emergency farmers contrary to their contracts of employment.
“It is bad governance on the part of most governors to shift the burden of declining revenue on their workforce while still maintaining the primitive huge cost of executive overhead.”
He emphasised that the key to economic recovery is to have a motivated and dedicated workforce.