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Our expectations from new minister — Labour leaders

 

Two labour leaders on Sunday said the incoming Minister of Labour needed to empathise with workers, especially at a critical time when the economy is faced with challenges affecting them.


The leaders spoke in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos, ahead of President Bola Tinubu’s swearing-in of the new ministers on Monday.


The Chairman, Nigeria Labour Congress, Lagos Chapter, Mrs Funmi Sessi, expressed optimism in Mr Simon Lalong, assigned the portfolio of the Minister of Labour and Employment, to do well, given his experience.


Sessi said Lalong should use the experience he had garnered as a former governor of Plateau State to also deal with the issues of labour.


“The future is bright with labour and Lalong as the minister, all things being equal, if he will not change, and with the good industrial relationship that he maintained with the labour unions in his state.


“I hope he will extend it to the labour centres in Nigeria, including Nigeria Labour Congress, all workers, not only in the public sector, but private as well; both formal and informal.


”This is necessary so that we can have the working people in Nigeria partake in the same wealth that they create; it will be a commonwealth, and that is our hope, “ she said.


The labour leader said that the sector would need a minister with compassion, and experience; one who is humane.


Sessi said, “Someone that will give all to ensure that he will create more ground for employment, productivity, high yield of productivity.”


Also, the Secretary, Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, Lagos State Council, Mr Aladetan Abiodun, said the new Minister for Labour would be facing an inherited tense industrial space due to the fuel subsidy removal.


According to him, the removal has impacted negatively on all fixed-income earners.


“I strongly believe that if this issue is not properly managed, it may snowball into a full-scale industrial crisis.


“It is precisely this reason that we want a minister who will hit the ground running.


“Also, we want the issue of the new minimum wage to be quickly settled; this is another area where we are going to need quick intervention.


“Furthermore, we hope under this new administration, the Ministry of Labour will wake up to some of its statutory responsibilities in the area of labour inspections.


“This includes bringing employers of labour who often breach their contract of agreement with employees to order, as well as ensuring that the laws of our land are respected, particularly by foreign companies who usually show utter disrespect to our labour laws, “ Aladetan said.

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