The Lagos State Chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress has urged workers to reflect on the future of work to enhance the ability to confront the challenges ahead.
The state Chairman, Agnes Sessi, made the call in a statement on Saturday in commemoration of Workers’ Day celebrated annually on May 1.
Sessi said the challenges ahead were enormous, however, not insurmountable.
She said: “Apart from high infection and mortality rate, the biggest impact of COVID-19 pandemic is the disruption of socio- economic order.
“According to International Labour Organisation (ILO), 25 million people will likely lose their jobs as a result of the pandemic.
“It also warns of severe job contraction in the informal sector as the opportunity for people to be engaged will be highly restricted, given the restriction of movement in many places.”
The chairman also said the union was aware that some employers might exploit the current situation and engage in anti-labour practices in their organisations to further inflict pains on workers.
She, however, warned that such act would be vehemently resisted by labour.
Sessi added: “While labour will continue to show understanding at this trying time, we implore employers to be cautious in taking decisions on issues that borders on the livelihood of workers.
“We appeal to the three arms of government, including the Executive, Legislative and Judiciary, to provide an unrivaled leadership and services not only to the workers but the entire citizens of Lagos State.
“Also, agencies that are saddled with responsibilities of protecting the rights of the workers at work should be alive to their duties.”
Sessi, while commending the government for its efforts in fighting the pandemic, called on the government not to renege on its responsibilities of providing the needed Personal Protective Equipment for healthcare workers.
She said: “Applauding the health workers is not enough without the continuous provision of safety kits for them to prevent transmission of the virus.
“We do not want health workers to become dead heroes and victims, because we need as many health workers as possible to be alive and healthy to keep up the good work they are doing.”
The chairman commended the state government in distributing relief materials to cushion the effect of the lockdown.
She said the efforts had not yielded the desired result and therefore called on the government to revisit the distribution of palliative items.
Sessi said: “Despite the importance of workers at this critical time, a critical stakeholder like organised labour was not carried along by the government in the distribution of the palliatives.
“We request the inclusion of the real vulnerable in the society including pensioners, widows, physically challenged, to mention a few, as beneficiaries in the palliative arrangement.”