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NUFBTE raises the alarm as robots, automated machines take over jobs in multinational firms 


Robots at work

The National Union of Food, Beverages and Tobacco Employees (NUFBTE) has raised the alarm over the increasing rate multinational companies operating in Nigeria are deploying robots and automated machines to execute jobs that human beings can do.

The unions stressed the urgent need for government to weigh in on the development to forestall massive unemployment.

The union argued that Nigeria is not yet matured enough for automated machines and robots to take over jobs meant to be done by humans, noting that government should tackle the increased rate of youth unemployment and ensure the common man can comfortably provide meal for his family before such could be introduced to local industries.

President of the NUFBTE, Lateef Oyelekan, who disclosed this recently called on the Federal Government to prevail on companies already using the robots to stop, stressing that the union had already petitioned the Federal Government on the matter through the Minister of Labour and Employment.

Oyelekan said: “Countries with employment problems in the world are not using robots. If a country like China that manufactures robots is not using them, India is not using robots, even in our continent here; Ghana and Kenya are not using robots, why should Nigeria allow it then?

“Nigeria is not matured enough for automated machine or robots to be used in our local industry instead of people. Presently, we have the challenge of unemployment in our hands where half of the population of our youths is unemployed.

We are insisting that it would further increase the unemployment problem in the country and more Nigerians will lose their jobs.

This is because where 200 Nigerians are supposed to be working, with automated machine, we now have 30, and where 500 were working before, we have less than 50.”

While stressing the need for government to ensure that jobs that can be executed by Nigerians are not given to expatriates, Oyelekan commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his insistence on the full implementation of local content policy in most sectors of the Nigerian economy.

“We commend Mr President for that because in some companies, we have expatriates as line managers, sales managers, what does such a person knows about our culture, our market and other socio-cultural values of our people? This is how Nigeria can develop,” he said.

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