ABUJA – The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on Friday advised the Ministry of Labour and Productivity to revive its factory inspectorate division to address the alleged maltreatment of workers in some private organisations.
The General-Secretary of the congress, Dr Peter Ozo-Eson gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
He said that the revival of the inspectorate division would ensure the maintenance of a good working environment and sustenance of minimum standards for workers.
“There has even been a situation in Lagos in which workers were burnt alive inside the factory because they were locked in and all that.
“We believe that there has now emerged a reneging on the part of government of its statutory function of factory inspection.
“There used to be a strong factory inspectorate division in the Ministry of Labour; we think that there is need to revive that division and to equip it and to provide it with resources so that it is able to carry out factory inspection.
“So that those places that do not meet the minimum standards can be shut down until they come into compliance because it is not sufficient to say you have people employed when that employment is a direct channel to their losing their lives or if not directly dying now, there are many situations that cripple them.“
Ozo-Eson said that NLC would always insist on the maintenance of the minimum standard for a work environment as endorsed by the International Labour Organisation.
He said that the congress was working closely with the Ministry of Labour and Productivity and other industrial unions to enforce as well as improve the health and safety environment for workers.
According to the general-secretary, affiliate unions should continue to work diligently and to notify the congress of unsuitable working environments.
“Unfortunately many of the companies where these incidents are greatest are some of the small private companies that are not even unionised and that is where it then becomes more difficult to police.
“And our call to workers wherever they are is that they must realise that they have a right and the constitution gives them the right to unionise and they must try to exercise those rights, not to be afraid about their jobs
“So that if they have unions and they affiliate to unions, then they are like to be better protected.
“So, we appeal that workers, once they are in a work place and once they attain a sizable number a population, they must try to come together collectively to protect their own interest by unionisation.“(NAN)