–KADUNA, North-West, Nigeria – The Nigeria Labour Congress, (NLC), has expressed dismay over a situation where workers are exposed to worsening health and safety situations with increased cases of deaths and injuries at work.

President of the Congress, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, stated this during the 2019 Decent Work Day ceremony held in Kaduna on Monday, October 7.

The NLC President who was represented by Kaduna State Chairman, Comrade Ayuba Suleiman, said NLC rejects a world of work of increased demand for overtime work without commensurate reward, saying a world of work where jobs are not secured is 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.”

Speaking on the theme: “Invest in the Care Economy”, Ayuba said; “We re-echo our position that decent work must be at the centre 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.

Cross section of workers chanting solidarity songs at the gate of CWay Factory in Barnawa, Kaduna.

“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.

“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 expendables commodities. We create the Wealth! We 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 Honourable Minister 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,” he said.

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