FOBTOB bemoans high rate of job losses in sector

National President, FOBTOB, Quadri Olaleye

 • Seeks implementation of labour-intensive allowance
The Food, Beverage and Tobacco Senior Staff Association (FOBTOB) has raised the alarm over high rate of retrenchment of workers by employers in the sector.

The union urged the Federal Government to engage employers in the sector with a view to halting the looming crisis the mass sack may engender in the near future.

The National President of FOBTOB, Quadri Olaleye, said this during the association’s 40th anniversary celebration and awards in Auchi, Edo State.

The anniversary, which had ‘40 years of Heroic struggle for Better Living for All: The Challenge, Success and Aspirations’, as its theme, chronicled the struggles of the union in its efforts at promoting the welfare of its member.

Olaleye disclosed that the association was going into redundancy negotiation with companies in the sector to nip the situation in the bud.

Olaleye, who blamed the situation on difficulties in the nation’s economy, queried how the sacked workers would celebrate the festive season that is fast approaching, with lot of dependants in their care.

He suggested that rather than government granting capital allowances to multinationals on purchase of sophisticated machines such as robots and automation in packaging that largely responsible for job loses, he canvassed for the introduction of labour intensive allowance.

By government initiating a labour intensive allowance, he said it would compel companies to use more of labour than machines in order to save jobs.

He said: “We have discussed with government that instead of what we call the capital allowance, labour intensive allowance should be introduced. Government should be able to engage companies and our employers’ association in discussions to look at the capacity of the industry and look at the number of workers that should be in that industry to move the food sector forward.

“Government giving some percentages as capital allowance to companies that uses sophisticated machines is totally against the situation of the economy.”

The FOBTOB President also urged government to urgently address the influx of substandard products in the country, while appropriate sanctions are put in place to prevent smugglers from carrying out their nefarious acts.

According to him, the menace has created a lot of complications for the industry, which has resulted in increased rate of unemployment, redundancies and factory closure in the sector.

In his keynote address, the chairman of the occasion, Managing Director, Nestle Nigeria Plc., Mauricio Alarcon, represented by the Director, Human Resource, Shola Akinyosoye, commended FOBTOB on milestones attained, and called on labour unions to ensure employers take workers’ welfare seriously.

A keynote presentation on ‘Building stronger union through collective struggle: A challenge for trade unions”, by former General Secretary of Trade Union of Nigeria (TUC), John Kolawole, advised unions to continue to fight for people-focused policies, political will, sustainable development and social security among others to make the country a better society to live in.

Highlights of the ceremony was the presentation of awards to members and companies as well as commissioning of 26-room hostel for use by students of Auchi Polytechnic, and in commemoration of the association’s 40th anniversary celebration.

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