NLC wants FG to enforce compliance with decent work principle

[FILE] President of Congress, Ayuba Wabba,. PHOTO: YOUTUBE

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), has urged the Federal Government to ensure all employers of labour in the country adhere strictly to the principles of decent work agenda of the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

The NLC highlighted such principles to include respect for the rights of workers, provision of safety equipment and payment of entitlements as and when due.

The union argued that a decent work practice that guarantees workers’ freedom of association encourages maximum productivity of the workforce.

Speaking during an event to mark the decent workday in Abuja, which is celebrated every 7th October, the NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, said decent work practice is a key factor in sustaining a human society that thrives on industrial peace and harmony.

He said: “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 centre of government’s 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 organise migrant workers to deepen the power of the working class.”

Wabba, who is also the President ofInternational Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), observed that labour is tired of a world where workers are exposed to worsening health and safety situations with increased cases of deaths and injuries at work.

He added: “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 toa 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 straightforward. We demand that workers be treated with dignity in our factories, offices, schools, hospitals, and other workspaces. Workers are not expendable commodities. We create the Wealth! We demand regularised appointments, decent work hours, paid leave, guaranteed remuneration at work and regular pension at retirement.”

Wabba also called for tax reforms that bring 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.

While urging the Federal Government to take more proactive measures to enhance labour inspection in factories and plantations, he demanded that stringent penalty be meted to all employers who are not conforming to the provisions of labour laws.

“We call on the Minister of Labour and Employment to fast track the promised revitalisation of the Inspectorate Division of theMinistry of Labour and Employment and reactivation of the National LabourAdvisory Council (NLAC), as an instrument of social dialogue,” he said.

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