The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), has called on the Federal Government to address the issue of precarious work in all sectors of the Nigerian economy.
Mr Ayuba Wabba, NLC President, said this while addressing the Head of Civil Service of the Federation in her office on Thursday in Abuja.
The visit was part of activities on sensitisation and awareness to mark the 2021 World Day for Decent Work (WDDW)
Wabba said that government should rise against all forms of casualisation of work in the country and ensure the provision of decent work for the workers.
“We demand an immediate end to all forms of employment that offend human dignity and deny workers access to living wages, social protection and denial of right to forms union.
”We ask employers of labour to respect the law and where the law is observed in breach, the Ministry of Labour and the other agencies of government should enforce the law.
“Today is a day set aside globally, to mark the world decent work day. It’s a day to recognise the contribution of workers to the growth of the economy, peace and development, and importantly, the prosperity of every country.
“Workers create wealth of the world, and therefore in Nigeria we create the wealth and if we create the wealth, it goes to say that workers must also be well taken care of.
“The challenge that is ravaging the world today in fact, the effect is more felt by the workers, because as we speak, the purchasing power of workers have been reduced to nothing.
“N30,000 cannot buy a bag of rice, and we know how the cost of goods or services have gone up. In fact, the worst is that when you retire, you have to struggle to get your benefits.
“Workers must work with dignity, workers must have Social Security. Workers must have adequate remuneration, and today, all of us are aware that civil servants are the least paid in Nigeria when you compared to all other sectors,” he said.
He said that workers put in their best to service the economy but reap less, adding that “these cannot continue and that is something that needs to be reviewed.”
The NLC president, however, decried the predicaments faced by retirees in the country.
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He said that unlike in other countries where the government provided senior citizens with a decent life after service, in Nigeria, retirees were left to die in penury.
“In other countries, senior citizens live with beauty and their dignity is recognised. They have houses for senior citizens. They have free medical care for senior citizens. They have housing for senior citizens,.
”But in our own case, if you don’t have a family to take care of you, it’s between you and your God. That is not decent work.
“All the workers must have social security cover that can take care of them; when they are old, when they are aged and have no power, and that is why we will start every conversation with trying to defend our retirees.
“We agreed on the contributory pension. scheme will certainly address all the challenges associated with pension payments, gratuity payment, and social security for all workers in the public service, and even in the private sector.
”But today as we speak even the government that promulgated that law has not been faithful in remit its own percentage,” he said.
”I’m aware that recently, Mr President approved N79 billion to pay the liability arrears of the people that have retired, and that constituted an increase of 2.5 per cent and also, part of their accrued rights.
However, he warned that if these issues are not addressed and decent work implemented, it would have adverse effect on the elites in the society through increased security challenges in the country.
Responding, Mrs Folasade Yemi-Esan appealed that the workers should submit all their demands in writing.
Yemi-Esan was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Service Welfare Office, (SWO), Dr Ngozi Onwudiwe said that the Head all Service “is the first public servants in the country”.
”She takes into consideration the welfare of the workers because if the workers are not taken care of, she too will not be taken care of.
“In every forum, she makes sure to canvass for the cause of the workers and I can assure you that she is the last person to condone indecent work for civil servants.
“I would request that you articulate your demands in writing to formally present it to the Head of Service,” she said.
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