ByÂ Funmi Komolafe
The federal ministry of Labour and Productivity has expressed its determination to end all forms of exploitation of Nigerian workersÂ with a special focus on eradicating casual labour in the work place.
Labour and Productivity minister, Chief Emeka Wogu who made known the ministryâ€™s new focus while
receiving the NLC President Comrade Abdulwaheed Omar and the President General of TUC Comrade Peter Esele with their executives in his office yesterday said the GoodluckJonathan administration has demonstrated its interest in its workers through the constitution of a number of committees on workersâ€™ welfare.
NLCÂ President, ComradeÂ Â Â AbdulwaheedÂ OmarÂ who led the NLC executive members pledged the cooperation of workers to the administrationâ€™s stated goal of creating more jobs for Nigerians, while Comrade Peter Esele who also led the Trade Union Congress delegationÂ to the minister pledged support of the congress to the Minister who he said had started very well through his consultative efforts.
In the ministerâ€™s word, â€œOn casualisation in the workforce as Minister of Labour and Productivity, I intend to take bold steps to correct it as this dovetails into issues of good working conditions and practicesâ€.
He added â€œ|What is important to us as Nigerians is the national prestige and the question of how Nigerian workers are treated in the workplaces either owned by Nigerians or expatriates.â€
Chief Wogu stressed further,â€Are they conforming with the rule of law? Are they conforming with international best practices with respect to labour practices or are they taking Nigerians for a ride?
â€œOn the issue of unionization, I want to get inputs from you and I promise you that I will keep it in the front burner but I will need your inputs,â€ Wogu told the NLC delegation comprising Comrades Peter Adeyemi, Promise Adewusi, Issa Aremu and Ladi Illiya.
The ministerâ€™s special assistant, Mr. Emma Aziken who was familiar with the meeting said the minister told the TUC delegation,Â Â Â â€œI will ensure that this ministry through concerted efforts and inputs from the TUC as social partner will make efforts to reduce casualisation.â€ Giving the determination of the administration to boost the welfare of workers he said:
â€œAnother important thing is the welfare of the Nigerian workforce which is so paramount and dear to the heart of the Acting President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan. He is so passionate about the welfare of the Nigerian workforce in addition to creating of new jobs in the country.â€
Comrade Abdulwaheed while responding, expressed delight at the proactive labour inclinations of the Minister saying â€œWe are happy to hear from the Honourable Minister that he has a focus on job creation. We want to assure you that Nigerian workers will cooperate with you towards achieving this goal.â€
Comrade Peter Esele also pledged the congress support for the Minister. However,Â he noted the challenges before the Minister saying that the days ahead will be rough but stated that with the Ministerâ€™sproactive inclinations, industrial peace could be achieved.Esele was accompanied by the TUC General Secretary Comrade John Kolawole, among other officials.