Atrocities committed against Nigerian workers unimaginable – NLC

As Nigeria joins the rest of the world today to observe a day of mass action against casual and indecent work, and mass action for decent work, Kaduna State Chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Adamu Ango has said described unimaginable atrocities committed against nigeria workers, stressing that Nigerians will weep if Labour should open up on all constitutional atrocities committed against workers by most State governors in the country.

Ango stated this on Thursday as special guest of honour ahead of today’s global work day for decent work, organised by members of National Union of Textile & Garment Workers of Nigeria (NUTGTWN), Comrade Ango said most governors have ganged against labour to deny Nigerians employments.

He said the governors do this by engaging consultants to carry out jobs at expensive charges, instead of engaging the services of civil servants whom are being paid a minimum wage of N18,000.00 per month.

He lamented the low value of the minimum wage compared to a price of a bag of rice of over N20,000.00 in the market, adding that workers are being subjected to greater temptation of corruption with such poor take home pay packet.

He said, “These consultants do less far work with huge payment than the actual workers employed by the government, but the same government does not want to employ workers.

“But Nigerians will weep for NLC if we open up on all that government is doing to put the masses into hardship and poverty.

“In some cases, workers dare not ask for their salaries for fear of being sacked, but as an employee, it is your rights to ask for your wages.

“We rise up and work as one family because government is trying to divide us along ethnicity and religious lines. However, this day is for sober reflection because the poor workers of Nigeria are suffering the ongoing recession than our elected leaders who are globetrotting with their families at the expenses of tax payers money”.

Earlier, General Secretary, NUTGTWN, Comrade Issa Aremu, urged trade unions to rise up to defend their members’ rights, and stop treating their members “casually” and look the other way to collude with unscrupulous employers to violate workers’ rights.

“We must kill casualization and precarious work otherwise precarious work will kill our members! Contract and casual employments are no jobs, “but crimes against humanity,” Aremu said.

He stressed that all unionists must be united to stop ongoing divisive leadership tussles, saying if they operate separately precarious work will defeat them collectively.

He further explained, “Precarious or casual work is the work done by workers under terrible conditions of low pay, delayed payment and general insecurity.

“Precarious work is becoming norm in most workplaces in Nigeria with most employers taking advantage of mass unemployment to violate workers’ rights. More and more precarious workers are unable to realize their fundamental rights at work and enjoy essential social rights.

“As we have seen in recent times with serial tragedies involving applicants and extortion of applicants in immigration, police and customs services, recruitment of workforce is also getting precarious in Nigeria.

“Most affected are women and young workers in general. In many commercial banks for instance precarious work takes the form of agency work in which a labour contractor supplies workers to the banks but the workers still remain the employees of the contractor.

“These workers are known as contract workers or temporary workers. Most banks today are mere modern day slave trade terminals reminiscent of the despicable trans-Atlantic slave trade of 15th century in which young girls are employed under corporate prostitution scheme and paid slave wages. Only lucky workers ever get elevated to the permanent status in most banks.

“Auxiliary” workers are nothing but casual workers. Even churches and mosques which should know what Almighty God ordained with respect to dignity of labour offer their workers devilish dirty jobs and pay them peanuts. Many pensioners earn less than N10,000 and statutory minimum wage of N18,000 in the face of massive currency devaluation and inflation.

“Major industries with well known brands run by respectable men and women with advertised Corporate Social Responsibility (CSRs) practice outsource major operations. We therefore call on all our members and allies in civil society to join us in a mass solidarity action for decent work”.

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