Outsourcing, casualisation weigh heavily on workers’ survival
• NLC chief promises to revive anti-casualisation group
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has faulted the Organised Private Sector (OPS), saying it is gradually losing relevance over rising incidences of outsourcing, casualisation and contract staffing.
The organisaton lamented how the majority of workers are struggling to survive.
President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Joe Ajaero, said the challenge has become a general problem across the country, promising to confront the challenges headlong.
Ajaero said this during a familiarisation visit to labour unions in Lagos and Ogun states, where unions lamented the challenges of outsourcing, casualisation and contract staffing of workers.
The NLC chief said that the challenges are based on policies of the government, which tend to dispose workers of their income.
He boasted about how he repositioned the Nigeria Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) and resisted labour contractors before the privatisation of the power sector, saying the union would have gone into extinction with many workers losing their jobs.
Besides the private sector, where the majority of workers in the unions operate, he mentioned that some departments in the public sector have been outsourced.
He alleged that government had to spend about N2 trillion as a subvention to a company on outsourcing and contract staffing, arguing that the amount could have been used to address critical areas of the economy.
He promised to bring back the anti-casualisation committee of the NLC, stating that workers should not be at the receiving end of the flawed system. He also noted that there is a new world of work, where contract staffers could be unionised.
He urged the unions to pencil down defaulting companies, which disallowed workers to be unionised, stressing that there was a need to create a Private Sector Negotiating Council (PSNC).
Director-General of the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), Adewale-Smatt Oyerinde, said while outsourcing was accepted globally, casualisation should be disallowed entirely.
He said the employers’ body was in support of decent work environment and standardisation of employment across sectors.
“Outsourcing is globally accepted, while casualisation is frowned at. That the private sector is facing enormous challenges, which sometimes necessitate some companies going the route of outsourcing and casualisation might be correct, because of the socioeconomic situation that businesses are forced to endure. The harsh regulatory environment, tax regime, dwindling income, all contribute to making doing business in Nigeria very uninteresting,” he said.
He said NECA has reached out to unions to deepen collaboration and advocate a favourable environment that will enable businesses to thrive, as well as enable employers and employees to contribute to national development.
He said the Ministry of Labour in partnership with the social partners has done much to regulate employment in most sectors
Recently, he said NECA and the Ministry of Labour reviewed employment guidelines in the oil and gas industry.
“It will progressively eradicate the issue of casualisation and contract staffing so that there will be standardisation of employment in all industries. The ongoing effort is also to ensure there is a standardisation of employment and decent work across the board,” he said.
The unions visited, include National Union of Chemical Footwear, Rubber, Leather and Non-Metallic Products Employees (NUCFRLANMPE), located in Ogun State; Steel and Engineering Workers Union of Nigeria (SEWUN) and the National Union of Food, Beverages and Tobacco Employees (NUFBTE), in Lagos.
In their responses, President Babatunde Goke of NUCFRLANMPE urged the NLC chief to fight anti-worker practices, stop precarious jobs, fight bad policies of government for the welfare of workers and masses, as well as promote and strengthen inter-unions relationship.
The National President of Steel and Engineering Workers Union of Nigeria (SEWUN), Emmanuel Adesanya, urged him to have workers’ interests always at heart.
Also, the immediate past National President, the National Union of Food, Beverages and Tobacco Employees (NUFBTE), Oyelekan Lateef, bemoaned unfavourable policies bedevilling the sector.
He urged Ajaero to strengthen the sector and prevent it from crumbling, adding that over 60 per cent of workers in the sector are casual.