RECCESSION Prevailing economic recession is working against original arrangements between employers and employees
Organised labour has decried the level of insincerity among some employers over their approach to certain agreements reached on behalf of workers.
The labour unions are specifically miffed following some employers’ failure to engage workers in negotiations before taking a decision either to lay them off or withhold their benefits.
Reflecting on the development, which has become commonplace as a result of the prevailing economic recession, the President, Trade Union Congress (TUC) of Nigeria, Comrade Bobboi Bala Kaigama, observed that employers of labour had turned politicians, who can no longer be trusted to hold on to agreements.
He said, “They take advantage of workers at every slight opportunity, like this one provided by recession.
It is our thinking that the fact that there is a little drop in profit margin is not a criterion to lay off committed workers. Between July 2015 and now, the senior staff of food and beverage union has lost thousands of workers to an already oversaturated labour market.
“The food and beverage sector had in its employ millions of workers until recently when the issue of violation of collective agreement and redundancy arising from forex problems, etc became the order of the day. Employers of labour have become politicians and hardly adhere to agreements.
” He lamented the atmosphere under, which employers were currently operating, stressing that there was no company that currently spends less than half a billion naira to power their plants in a month. Kaigama said that with diesel now selling for between N250 and N300 per litre depending on where one is buying from, those that could not sustain their businesses have left the shores of the country with their products still flooding the Nigerian markets.
He noted: “At its peak, the textile sector provided direct jobs to close to half a million of Nigerians and millions of indirect jobs.
Sadly, over 90 per cent core investors have since gone into importation.
We will be glad if government can do for the industry what it has done in the power sector by making solid arrangement to sell gas to this industry at the same rate it is selling to the DISCOS; since they both require this commodity for production.
He said: “The footwear and leather industry is combating with the challenges of influx of fake tyres from China and fairly used ones.
The development possesses a great risk to the masses, who are daily on the roads.
“According to Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), a total of 4,005 deaths in 7,657 crashes were recorded at the end of week 47 of 2016.Fake tyres contribute to it.
And we urge government to assist through policies to curb further closure of companies.
“The same evil that befell the textile, food and beverage, footwear and leather sectors have since befallen the pharmaceutical and chemical, aviation and iron and steel sectors, etc.
Reports have it that despite billions of naira so far spent on Aladja, Katsina and Ajaokuta they are yet to fully come on stream.
The pulp and paper Industries at Jebba, Iwopin and Oku-Iboku have all long been abandoned and forgotten despite several appeals to government.
It is not a plus that 21stcentury Nigeria still imports paper even with all the trees all over the country, he noted.
He also called on Federal Government to fully implement the National Automotive Policy initiative launched in 2016 through the Bank of Industry to assist the middle class patronise local vehicle assembly plants, saying that through this initiative a lot of serious auto plant would boost their sales and stabilise the market and create jobs even in this recession.
Taking the deplorable economic situation further, the labour leader observed that the financial sector had also been hit by the economic lull with the insurance and banking sectors not faring better.
He said: “Its tales have been that of meltdown and carelessness on the part of management.
The management kicks against unionisation and makes the workers look like the evil bedeviling the sector