By AbdulGafar Alabelewe, Kaduna
The IndustriALL Global Union has called on Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai to reconsider and jettison his planned sack of thousands of civil servants of Kaduna State and engage with workers’ unions on the state’s development.
IndustriALL Global Union with headquarters in Geneva represents 50 million workers in 140 countries in the mining, energy and manufacturing sectors, offers global solidarity for better working conditions and trade union rights around the world.
Addressing the media on the sideline of Iftar Ramadan breakfast hosted by him in Kaduna on Sunday, the Vice-President of the global union, Comrade Issa Aremu said: “At times of COVID-19 pandemic, rising official unemployment of 33.18 per cent inflation and open unemployment of 50 per cent and footloose criminality and banditry, the minimum responsibility of all elected governments is “jobs retention, mass job creation not engaging in unhelpful massive layoffs.”
The Kaduna State government had reportedly laid off and turned some thousands of workers into casual workers across the local councils citing “the dwindling finances and high wage bill of the state as reasons for its action.”
He observed that Governor El-Rufai, like most governors of Northern states, “was better positioned to be less dependent on Federal allocations if they could partner with the Federal Government to implement the Cotton, Textile and Garment (CTG) policy which, according to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) could generate over two million direct taxable jobs.”
“At such time of COVID-19 pandemic, high inflation, unemployment, income and energy poverty, government protection is next to Godliness. The constitution envisages a kind caring Nigeria, not “tough” insensitive sub-national leaders who sack workers on low pay, impose levies indiscriminately, worsen poverty and inadvertently fuels violent crimes of various hues,” he said.
The labour leader said there is a nexus between job losses, wage poverty and criminality.
“Men may suffer terribly from the death of loved ones, the breakup of a marriage, or some other personal tragedy. But what brings humankind to the point of immobilisation, total misery is the loss of their jobs.”
He advised that state governors must key into Economic Sustainability Programme by the Federal Government and other CBN facilities targeted at households, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), youth empowerment, and reduction of unemployment.
“It is unacceptable that Nigerians are out of work when, indeed, there is much to do in all sectors of the economy; from civil service to security, from agriculture to industry,” he said.