Decent Work Day: Uphold Workers’ Right, NLC Tells Govt, Employers


….Decent practice engenders economic growth, sustainable development

By Obioma C. Appolos

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has urged the federal government and employers in the private sector to uphold workers rights, and ensure that decent work practices are evidently instigated and enforced in working places across the country.

NLC also said that a decent work practice which grantees workers’ necessary benefits and freedom of association, is a panacea for workers to productively put in the required best towards achieving government or organisational goals as the case may be, thereby attaining a sustainable development for the country at large.

Contained in a statement signed by NLC president, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, to mark this years’ decent work day which is observed on 7th October yearly, the Congress maintains that decent work practice is a key factor to making the world of work which is a great pillar to the sustainability of human society thrive and as well maintain industrial peace and harmony.

Partly, the statement read; “On the occasion of the 2019 Decent Work themed ”Invest in the Care Economy”, we re-echo our position that decent work must be at the center of government actions to bring back economic growth and build a new global economy that puts people first. Putting people First means reversal of the ugly trend of wage poverty and extreme inequality.

“We therefore join the rest of the global trade union movement to call on government to increase investment in care to generate economic growth, tackle growing demographic challenges and help overcome gender discrimination by mainstreaming women in the economy.

“Investment in care economy means prioritizing investment in extended social protection to women, extended leave for care of children, secured parental leave for both gender and change in work arrangement to allow workers to achieve the critical balance between work and family.

“In practical terms, it means creating opportunity for work that is socially productive and economically rewarding. It means that we do not just put the care of children and the elderly in the hands of women who constitute the majority of the workforce in the sector without adequate reward and the necessary supporting structures and facilities.

“As we know, majority of migrants are in precarious jobs that are unstable and insecure, and which offer them limited or no rights, protections and benefits. We, therefore, urge governments and employers to extend decent work provisions and protection to migrant workers through social dialogue. We also call on trade unions to organize migrant workers to deepen the power of the working class.”

Procession of Nigerian workers during a peaceful match to mark the 2019 Decent Work Day in Abuja

The largest labour congress in Africa further said, “We are tired of a world where workers are exposed to worsening health and safety Situations with increased cases of deaths and injuries at work. We reject a world of work of increased demand for overtime work without commensurate reward.

“We reject a world of work where jobs are not secured and hugely precarious. We reject the ascendancy of a work order denoted by casual, contract, or outsourced work. We will continue to frown at child labour. We reject forced labour. These industrial infractions violate section 7 of Nigeria’s Labour Act. We say no to a world of work where workers are dumped in the column of “expendables” to be torn apart, trampled upon and tossed aside.

“Our demands are short, simple and straight forward. We demand that workers be treated with dignity in our factories, offices, schools, hospitals, and other work spaces. Workers are not expendable commodities. We create the Wealth! \X/e demand regularized appointments, decent work hours, paid leave, guaranteed remuneration at work and regular pension at retirement.

“In order to create decent work environment, financial resource is key. We, therefore, call for tax reforms in a manner that brings more productive people into the tax net, progressive enough to ensure that the rich pay taxes commensurate to their income and responsive enough to ensure that taxes are applied to reduce social inequality.

“We also call for enhanced labour inspection in factories, and plantations. We also demand that stringent penalty applies to all employers who are not conforming to the provisions of the Labour law. We call on the Honorable Minster of Labour and Employment to fast track the promised revitalization of the Inspectorate Division of the Ministry of Labour and Employment and reactivation of the National Labour Advisory Council (NLAC) as an instrument of social dialogue.”

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