By Ahiuma Young
As employers, organised labour and even ordinary workers continue to ponder over the consequences of rampaging coronavirus, COVID-19, pandemic, to the lives of workers, their jobs and even wages, IndustriALL Global Union, IGU, is calling for synergy by stakeholders in the labour sector for innovative, problem-solving agreements to ensure that workers don’t suffer loss of lives and earnings, wages and pensions during the ongoing lockdown.
Speaking through its Vice President, African Region, Issa Aremu, IGU called on the Federal Government of Nigeria to urgently revive the tripartite National Labour Advisory Council, NLAC, made up of workers, and government with proactive coordinated and strategic interventions to minimise the impact of the virus.
According to him “it is time for all compatriots to heed the advice by the government and public health authorities, in general, to observe preventive measures; stay home and stay alive. The point cannot be overstated that the cases are still increasing.
“This historic battle cannot be for governments alone. Organised labour, civil societies and organised businesses must complement the efforts of governments to tame the spread. Employers must invest in particular on the protection of essential health workers on prevention awareness and control of the disease.
“The Federal Government must urgently revive NLAC with proactive coordinated and strategic interventions to minimise the impact of the virus.
“All labour market institutions, such as negotiating councils, must be reactivated in both public and private sectors for innovative, problem-solving agreements to ensure that workers don’t suffer loss of lives and earnings, wages and pensions during the ongoing lockdown.
“NLAC should urgently establish a situation room/forum/platform. Nigeria reportedly had only above 2000 tested cases compared to South Africa which had reportedly carried out over 20,000 tests.
“There is certainly a considerable room for a robust bipartisan collaboration in Nigeria and in Africa as a whole to prevent worsening virus spread against the background of the existing daunting health challenges of malaria and lassa fever, even though with a cure, that had killed more than a coronavirus.”
While commending the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Godwin Emefiele, for his proactive six-point new measures to ameliorate the impact of COVID-19, he contended that “the current crisis has exposed the underbelly of poor governance characterised by endemic complacency, sheer indifference and unnecessary competition among government agencies.
“It is remarkable that the Federal House had also passed the Emergency Economic Stimulus Bill, 2020 to complement the plans of the executive arm. We must operate collectively and make sure that coronavirus, being an opportunistic disease, would not defeat us separately.”