|Organised Labour and the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA), have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), toward boosting productivity, prevent jobs loses, promote health and preserve means of livelihoods of all citizens.
The MOU was signed by the representatives of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Mr Ayuba Wabba, Trade Union Congress (TUC), Mr Quadri Olaleye, and NECA, Mr Timothy Olawole, on Monday in Abuja.
Wabba, NLC President, said that the signing of the MOU identified critical areas of mutual needs, collaboration and efforts that would enable the social partners to address the fallout of COVID-19 in the country.
According to him, unfortunately, nothing has in recent times threatened the shared interest and aspirations of both employers of labour and workers like the novel Coronavirus disease (COVID-19 pandemic). “The disease has successfully put the entire global socio-economic system on almost complete lockdown for the past three months.
The impact on businesses, workers and livelihood has been monumental.
The NLC president, however, said that organized labour’s major concerns going forward included job security, rights at work, social protection and occupational health and safety for all workers in the face of the pandemic. He also noted that thousands of workers especially the frontline workers had fallen victims to the COVID-19 infection.
“We call on government and private sector employers to provide adequate protective and preventive facilities at work place. We will use this framework of the MOU to ensure that workers who fall ill are supported through paid sick leave to recover and be reinstated safely to their positions at work. We will also defend existing social protection nets such as pension and gratuity. We will continue to work with NECA to put pressure on government to provide business with palliatives, grants and fiscal support incentives. This includes downward review of tax and interest rates to give business the breathing space to maintain production,’’ Wabba said.
Director-General of NECA, Mr. Timothy Olawale, noted that 90 per cent of businesses, irrespective of their sizes were adversary impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Olawale, who was represented by Mrs. Adenike Ajala, Deputy Director, Abuja Corporate Office, said that the MOU was to ensure a sustainable post-COVID-19 economy and job security for the mutual benefit of all.
“We pledge to continue to adhere to the principles of social dialogue in decision making at enterprise level. We will also work together in collaboration with government and organised labour to develop initiatives aimed at boosting economic activities and protection of occupational safety and health of workers”.
Mr. Quadri Olaleye, President of the TUC, said that it was no longer news, the challenges impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic to workers in the world of work.
According to him, these are dire times and there is the need for government to ensure job security in the country, and stressed the need for the Federal Government to create more jobs as this was the solution to ensuring peace in the country and not job losses.