BY VICTOR AHIUMA-YOUNG
ORGANISED Labour in Nigeria’s construction industry has claimed that no fewer than 40,000 members have lost their jobs in the last one year due to non-payment for jobs done and certified by governments.
Under the aegis of the National Union of Civil Engineering, Construction, Furniture and Wood Workers, NUCECFWW, the union warned that the situation may be worse in 2015
Speaking to Vanguard, General Secretary of NUCECFWW, Mr. Babatunde Liadi, said: “In the last one year, a lot has happened in the Nigerian labour movement and most especially in my union. The major challenge is the non-payment of our employers by government for jobs already done.
This has been making them to declare our members redundant and put some of them on ‘stood-off’ (a term used for workers who have not been sacked to stay at home sometimes without pay).
We call on the government to do more and pay for the jobs done since development can been seen by the level of construction and infrastructural going on in the country. We are involved in most of the construction and infrastructure development in the country.
So, we want government to pay more attention to the sector especially by promptly paying for jobs done.
“We have been adversely affected by the insecurity in the country, leading to job losses among others. In fact, the issue of insecurity is really serious. If you look at it, you cannot find any meaningful construction work going on in the North East of the country.
Not just construction, but every other industry. Most of the companies have withdrawn their workers and in most cases, these workers are laid off. In our case, both foreign and local employees have been withdrawn.
This is a big minus for the economy and also a big minus for the workers that have been displaced because if the job is not there, and they are not going to be paid.
“In our industry, it is only when the job is there that you are engaged, when the work is not there, you are fired.
So, it is a great pain in the neck of our union because as a union we are losing revenue since we do not have members in those states. It is a national problem that must be addressed by all well meaning Nigerians.”
On the number of job losses, he said “we have lost between 35,000 to 40,000 members. The most painful thing is that 2015 is an election year.
There will be a lot of politicking and when they are politicking, definitely, less attention is given to governance and this also affects jobs. Because politicians will be busy canvassing for votes, traversing the length and breadth of the country.