Rights campaigners reject use of workers as ‘COVID-19 sacrificial lambs’

By Victor Young

Campaign for Democratic and Workers’ Rights, CDWR, has faulted work policy that places workers on fractional, no-salary or outright sack of workers as a result of the CODVID-19 lockdown, saying workers were being used as sacrificial lambs.

National Chairperson of CDWR, Rufus Olusesan, who spoke in Lagos, said: “It is unfortunate that most employers of labour, just like the ruling elite, are forcing workers and the poor to pay for the economic consequence of the lockdown.

“We strongly hold the view that workers and poor masses have the right to better living and working conditions.

“We understand that small and medium scale businesses may face some challenges and the government will have to intervene in the area of tax relief and some other incentives, but we demand that the extent of intervention for companies must be arrived at only after the books have been scrutinised to identify proven needs as well as the fulfillment of other conditions, including stopping casualisation.

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“For multinational businesses and other blue-chip companies, who pay fractional salary or refuse to pay salaries, the government should nationalise these companies and place them under democratic control and management of workers and consumers to ensure that it is run in the interest of workers and the public.

“CDWR rejects blanket bailout without conditions or any government planned bailout of big business like it did between 2009 and 2016 when over four trillion was spent to bail out the greedy and corrupt bankers, inefficient power sector companies and some irresponsible members of the ruling elite.

“Rather, it is the Nigerian workers, the poor and small and medium scale business on the basis of proven needs that need bailout during this period.

“We also demand that the government should come out with real and adequate palliatives for all Nigerian poor masses that include paying N50,000 monthly cash grant to the working masses and unemployed.

“CDWR calls on the trade union leaders to lead a struggle to protect jobs and salaries of private and public sector workers.

“The N30,000 national minimum wage must be defended so that the government does not use the excuse of COVID-19 to undermine the payment.

“The trade union leaders also have to put pressure on the Nigerian government to implement viable, sustainable and adequate palliatives for the masses.

“The trade union leaders will have to lead a struggle against private companies that perpetuate anti-labour practices, including casualisation, contract staffing, fractional salaries and job losses during the period of lockdown and after.”



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