The President of the Trade Union Congress, Quadri Olaleye, has called on the three tiers of government to grant three months tax holidays to Nigerian workers.
Olaleye made the appeal in his contribution at the Workers’ Day Virtual (online) dialogue with stakeholders to commemorate this year’s annual Workers Day, organised by The Nigerian Workforce Strategy and Enlightenment Centre in Ilorin, Kwara State on Saturday.
He also advised the government to invest massively in the public health sector to encourage frontline health workers, urging government to give reasonable palliatives to Nigerians during the ongoing lockdown.
He urged the government to diversify the economy and standardise the health sector, stressing the need for the government to create jobs and enabling environment for businesses to thrive.
The Executive Director and Lead Strategist at NIWOSEC, Dr. David Ehindero, said the aim of the virtual dialogue was to develop an effective and participatory model of engagement for stakeholders in the Nigerian industrial labour system.
Ehindero said the need to provide an alternative platform for stakeholders to commemorate the annual event despite the COVID-19 related social distancing were amongst the aim of the initiative.
He said: “Part of the objective of the virtual dialogue is to engender interrogation and discussion on the industrial relation and workplace implications of COVID-19 pandemic.
“To articulate vision for a post pandemic era, identifying structure and facilities needed to navigate the socioeconomic environment after the current crisis as well as possible measures to avert prevailing challenges should another challenge occur.”
Dr. Anifowose Kilani, the Chairman, Signa Sabitors, also advocated for comprehensive and compulsory insurance cover for Nigerian workers.
He identified the need for workers to have access to genuine and authentic information, adding that lack of authentic information can affect the psychology of workers.
“Government must handle relaxation of lockdown with caution in order to forestall increasing rate of infection of COVID-19,” Kilani advised.
The Director of Research, Planning and Curriculum Development at the Michael Imoudu National Institute for Labour Studies, Edwin Anisha, also called on the government to ensure that workers do not lose their jobs as a result of COVID-19 crisis.
Anisha advised government to develop unique business models and avoid copy and paste of policies in its resolve to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There is need for government to strengthen public health institutions to respond to emergency health challenges and urgently ensure that there is reliable data with which they could adequately guarantee social interventions,” he said.
The Vice-President, Industrial Global Union, Issa Aremu, in his contribution counselled workers to be creative while the COVID-19 crisis lasts.
Aremu said: “Workers and government should explore the opportunities in the health challenges confronting the country, new jobs can be created while concentrating on the old ones.
“I would also like to stress the need for labour leaders to be more involved in politics and governance.
“Governance should not be left to politicians.
“Everybody should be interested in what is going on in the government.
“There is the need for comprehensive approach to political and economic development as it affects workers.”
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the theme of the Workers Day virtual dialogue was: “COVID-19 And Its Implications For Nigeria Workers.”
The organisers said it was designed to suggest appropriate policy measures for the sustainability of businesses, job security, guaranteed income security and extend social protection and relief to workplace categories most impacted by the pandemic and vulnerable persons in the society.