Technology threatening jobs, NLC laments
• Blames corruption on greed of political leaders
The unabated breakthroughs in technological advancement are threatening the future of jobs, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), has said.
Speaking recently at the NLC leadership retreat in Enugu, NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, opined that institutionalisation of corruption in public expenditure and weaknesses cum sabotage in internal revenues accruable to government are to blame for festering corruption in Nigeria.He submitted that Nigerian workers and their trade unions face daunting challenges, which have been exacerbated by the rapidly evolving dynamism in the world of work.He argued that advancements in Internet connectivity, software applications and their carrier cum operating devices are getting more sophisticated.
With massive communication opportunities brought by 4G and 5G that enabled seamless live voice, text, image communication and 3D technology making the Internet of Things (IoT) possible, 6G terahertz-based technology is knocking on the door. This is expected to take robotics and automation technology to the next level, and drastically alter the way processing, producing and industrially relate is a potent death sentence for millions of jobs globally.
“This is the future of work. Are we ready for this? Now is the time to engage tomorrow,” he stated.Wabba noted that the organised labour seeks answers to the questions that the future of work brings, and trade unionists should be anxious to dispose all or most of the concerns that exist in the contemporary world of work.He further decried the harrowing experiences Nigerian workers are subjected to, saying: “in this era, our workers still face the indignity of indecent work. In this age and time, Nigerian workers are forced to beg for their salaries, which are now owed in arrears.”
He submitted that while other countries have fully accommodated and automated the process of minimum wage adjustments, and are now focused on living wages, Nigerian workers are faced with a situation where they are forced to bargain too hard, and wait for too long for meagre increases in minimum wage and adjustments in salary.
He further bemoaned the unpalatable experiences of workers: “We are confronted daily with increasing recalcitrance by employers to allow unionisation in work places, thus exposing millions of workers to indecent conditions of casual work status, slave wages, long hours of work without due compensation, and denial of social security cover.”He held that the challenges in the work places demand strategic leadership.
Wabba added that if Nigerian workers must deal with the rapidly metamorphosing challenge of poor working conditions, slave wages, deliberate efforts to prevent or kill trade unionism in the workplaces, they must think outside the box. They should take into consideration the global realities such as changing forms of capital, climate change, and drift to extremes in regional and national politics.
According to him, labour must renew its commitment to strategic organising by demonstrating conscientious and exemplary leadership.
He explained: “Part of strategic leadership is critical thinking on how best to engage our social partners – government and private sector employers. It is no longer discussed in hushed tones that the government is struggling with liquidity. As we know, this crisis is rooted in bad governance. Two things define bad governance in this respect – institutionalisation of corruption in public expenditure and weaknesses cum sabotage in internal revenues accruable to government.”Wabba said the humungous salaries and allowances paid to elected public officials and contract inflations are a source of concerns.He added that the loss of government revenue due to internal sabotage by unpatriotic public officials is very alarming and worrisome.
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