COVID - 19 : Organised Labour, Civil Society Move To Save Workers From Looming Job Loss, Others - THE DAILY CRUCIBLE



Thursday, May 28, 2020

COVID - 19 : Organised Labour, Civil Society Move To Save Workers From Looming Job Loss, Others

... Urge FG To Set Money Aside As Bail - Out Fund For Media Industry

From Babalola Gafar, Abeokuta

Organised labour and civil society organisations in Ogun State have pledged to embark on advocacy and social dialogue with government and private sector labour employers to ensure jobs and income protection for their members (workers).

The group said the need for the advocacy and social dialogue became necessary following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, the attendant lockdown in the state and its tolls on the economy, businesses, workers, families and individuals  so that no employers of labour hide under the cover of COVID - 19 to lay off workers or cut their salaries.

State Chairman, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ogun State chapter, Com. Emmanuel Bankole, who disclosed this at the union's Secretariat, Abeokuta, during a joint press briefing by the leadership of NLC, Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM),  Civil Societies, including Committee for Defence of Human Rights (CDHR), Private Sectors and Professional bodies in the state.

Bankole who spoke at the inauguration of the Organised Labour - Civil Society Situation Room on COVID - 19 on Wednesday, said that the coronavirus pandemic was already creating serious economic problems in the country, explainings that the workers' jobs and wages should be protected during this precarious time.

"This global pandemic is of immense importance to the populace because we seem to be the most endangered, apart from the direct impact on our existence as human beings, our jobs and means of livelihood is also at great risk with attendant negative socio-economic implications on our homes, Community and nation, hence the need for effective collaboration by all," he said.

The NLC Chairman added that they had also pledged to embark on sensitization campaign to prevent community spread of the dreadful virus in the State.

He said further that the sensitization exercise would be done across government agencies, health facilities, industries and major markets in the state.

According to him, the unions would serve as think - tank to liaise and advice government on its policies while sensitization campaign would protect jobs, wages and means of livelihood of Nigerians.

He also identified other objectives of the body as engaging Government on how best to gradually relax the lockdown and systematically open the economy as well as maintain surveillance on the impact of COVID - 19 on the workforce.  

Fielding questions from reporters, the NLC chairman called on the federal government to save the nation's media industry from total collapse due to the prevailing COVID - 19 pandemic and its dire implications on democracy, economy and the society 

 He urged the federal government to pump substantial sum of money into the media industry as "bail out fund" for that subsector of the economy because of its strategic importance to the nation.

He recalled that the Federal Government had in the past, bailed out the power sector despite its privatisation, saying "it is not out of place" if it  pumps huge fund into the media industry to save it from imminent collapse.

Also speaking, the Chairperson of NANNM, Ogun State chapter, Com. (Nurse) Roseline Funmilayo Solarin, said her members remained part of the frontliners in the battle against the dreadful COVID - 19 pandemic in Ogun and are greatly at risk every day, hence the need to maintain surveillance on the impacts of the pandemic as well as calls for appropriate measures to be put in place to protect the nurses.

Nurse Solarin also called for an insurance cover for health workers in the state.

She noted that many health workers had tested positive to the COVID -19, and urged residents to abide by the directives of the Nigeria Center for Disease Control(NCDC) on preventing its spread.

She said:"Many people still believed that covid-19 is not real. We really need to go out and let our people know that it is real. It is better for us to prevent covid-19 than contacting it. We have many of our members being affected with COVID -19."

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