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Labour cautions against job losses in the New Year


Lagos – Organised Labour has continued to agitate and warn that it would resist any large scale job cuts by the Federal and State Governments, as well as Private Sector employers in the New Year.
A check by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Lagos revealed that over 500,000 jobs had been lost since July 2015.

NAN gathered that the job losses were in the construction, oil and gas and telecommunications companies, due to one issue or the other.
Mr Lumumba Okugbawa, Acting Secretary-General, Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association (PENGASSAN), warned that it would resist a further sack of its members in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
Okugbawa said that although the association believed in reforming the oil and gas sector, it was averse to any reforms that would jeopardise the welfare of its members.
“There is nothing wrong with the unbundling of the NNPC to bring about greater efficiency and effectiveness. The unbundling and repositioning of the corporation should be done with a human face,’’ the acting secretary –general said.
He said that the restructuring which has heightened tension in workplaces and the labour market, would be resisted if it negatively affects the association’s members.
According to him, the planned sack was not in tandem with the “change” that the government promised Nigerians, especially in the area of job creation.
Okugbawa said that the plan to sack half of the current NNPC employees, would further compound the unemployment situation in the country.

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Mr Solomon Ogunbusola, President of the Federation of Construction Industry (FOCI), said that the industry was at a crossroad because various construction firms were owed over N600 billion for projects already executed.
According to him, this development has already led to a massive lay-off of workers because the construction companies have stopped work.
Also, Mr Amechi Asugwuni, President, National Union of Civil Engineering Construction, Furniture and Wood Workers (NUCECFWW), said that the level of massive job losses in the industry was worrisome.
Asugwuni said that since July 2015, close to 70,000 workers had been laid off by construction companies, and there was nothing to give hope for any reprieve in 2016.
In his contribution, Mr Segun Oshinowo, Director-General, Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), said that more workers could be laid off within the year, if government agencies continues to impose high taxes and fines on entrepreneurs.
Oshinowo said entrepreneurs are forced to sack workers because they operated in a difficult environment and they were striving to keep their businesses going.
He said that other impediments like costs of borrowing, poor infrastructure, absence of reliable power and multiple taxation, were a huge burden for employers.

However, Mr Bobboi Kagaima, President, Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), who doubles as the President of the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN), urged the Federal Government not to use its “proposed staff audit” as a strategy to sack workers.
He warned that labour would resist any scheme that would lead to massive job losses in the public sector. (NAN)

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