By Victor Ahiuma-Young
ORGANISED Labour in the nationâ€™s financial sector, under the umbrella of the Association of Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions (ASSBIFI), has called on Management of Banks and Insurance firms to explore vast market in the West African countriesÂ for mobilizing funds and safeguarding the business transactions of Nigerians.
In a communique issued at the end of a workshop on â€œGlobal economic meltdown and options for sustainable industrial harmonyâ€, held at ITUC-Africa Labour College, Lome, Republic of Togo, members, also called on government to provide social security safety net for the aged, disabled, children and un-employed in the country.
The communique said: â€œRealizing the huge economic potentials because of large populations of Nigerians settlers and traders in the West African Coast Countries, especially Lome, the Association called on Management of Banks and Insurance firms to explore the feasibility of marketing creative financial products in this coast as a veritable means for mobilizing funds and safeguarding the business transactions of Nigerians.
The session urges government and management of companies to respect the ILO (International Labour Organisation) Conventions on child labour and discrimination against women at workplaces.
The Association re-affirms that despite the vicissitude of prevalent economic situation, it is committed to the promotion of sustainable industrial, social harmony, protection of workers rights and building a virile working environment.
â€œThe session urged government and all relevant bodies to be vigilant and vigorously pursue the banking reforms to translate to concretely revamp the economy, prioritise the real sector, Agriculture and provision of basic developmental infrastructure as a sinequa-nom for the elimination of mass poverty, unemployment, illiteracy and diseases in the country.
â€œThe Association is alarmed that financial institutions and companies threatened by the rampaging economic crisis have increased the trend of taking adaptational steps detrimental to workersâ€™ interests and long term goals of re-engineering the national economy such as staff rationalization, casualisation of workforce, refusal to offer credit facilities for viable medium scale industries, manufacture, agriculture, etc that can develop the real sector of the economy.
â€œGovernment at all tiers are urged to intensify efforts to provide basic infrastructure like electric power supply, good transportation network which will have spiral effect on the economy because without developed infrastructures there can not be meaningful development.
The session condemns the hostile and belligerent attitudes of some companies management to Union and workersâ€™ rights and, flagrant violation of extant labour law and industry-wide Collective Agreement.
Particularly, the mass sack of members in Union Bank of Nigeria from 2006-2008 without following due process was condemned, urging the management of the bank to embrace social dialogue, return to the negotiating table with the National Secretariat of ASSBIFI to reverse the gross injustice perpetrated against the unlawfully and unprocedurally retrenched workers.â€