By: Ade Adetona
COVID-19: Don’t deduct Workers’ Salaries —Ondo NLC warns Govt, Cancels May Day celebration
Every first of May of the year is a worker’s day.
It is a day set aside globally to appraise challenges of labour force and celebrate their achievements in the course of the year.
The theme of this year’s May Day celebration in Nigeria is; “COVID19 PANDEMlC and its Socio-Economic Impact on the Nigerian Working Class.”
In compliance with the directive of its national body, the Ondo state Council of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on Thursday said there will be no ceremony today in Akure to mark the worker’s day.
This is just as the NLC has cautioned government that it will not accept any deduction or reduction in workers’ salaries for the funding of COVID-19 pandemic.
In a Statement jointly signed by the Ondo state Chairman of NLC, Comrade Sunday Adeleye-Oluwole and the State Secretary, Comrade Omokehinde Shadow, said the organized labour must be duly consulted before government could effect any reduction or deduction from salaries.
Ondo NLC called on government to provide Personal Protective Equipments (PPEs) and palliatives for essential members like health and Media workers in the State to cushion effects of the pandemic.
Comrade Adeleye-Oluwole appealed to government to return to the path of economic recovery to sustain the nation’s fragile economy to prevent economic meltdown after the coronavirus.
The Ondo NLC leadership said, “With no thanks to the ravaging killer virus code named COVID-19, the Ondo State Council of the Nigeria Labour Congress is constrained to announce to our teeming workforce that the year 2020 May Day Celebration usually done with pomp and pageantry will be observed on a low key this year.
“This position is in compliance with the national directive as conveyed to all the State Chairpersons by the Secretary General of the Congress. Comrade Emmanuel Ugboaja. According to him, the theme for 2020 May Day is COVID19 PANDEMlC and its Socio-Economic Impact on the Nigerian Working Class.
“It is no more news to anyone in the country that the virus is novel and up and until now, no known vaccine has been found capable of vitiating the virus.
“Therefore, the Congress wishes to state unequivocally that, ’a healthy worker is a wealthy worker’. Let’s stay at home and stay safe by obeying healthy regulations and instructions of hand-washing, sanitizing our hands, wearing of face mask and maintaining social distance to prevent us from contracting the deadly virus.
“It is wise to say to us that. the need to cut our clothes according to our respective sizes as trite. We must as a matter of necessity cut down on our extravagance, living up with the jones.
“Our taste for anything foreign has to change for our local products. The time to be truly Nigerian indeed is now as spending on goods and services inducing VAT will do us no much good but eat into our little savings which would have carried us further till the siege is oven
The Congress has also been mandated (by the National body) to ensure that no salary deduction or reduction for the reason of COVID-19 without due consent and agreement of the workers and as government struggles to see the end of the pandemic.
The Congress appealed that the need to return to the path of economic recovery is expedient for a fragile economy like ours that is just coming out of the 2007 world economic meltdown by ensuring a gradual but firm re-opening of offices and economic epicentres across the country in order to sustain our growth and restoration.
The Congress solicits that our members i.e. Medical/Health Workers and Media officers who are at the frontline of the war must as a matter of utmost importance provided with all the Personal Protective Equipments (PPEs) like; Goggle, Hand gloves, Sanitizers, Face Mask and Protective Overall Wears. Also, we demand special allowance for them while the virus lasts which we pray will be sooner than later.
“In conclusion, the Congress appreciates the government of 0ndo State for setting up a Palliative Committee with the mandate of cushioning the effects of the pandemic on the vulnerables across the 18 Local Governments in the State.
“This is commendable and should be sustained till the situation abates. However, it must be on record that no worker in the State has been palliated. We pray that something be done in this regard, please.
“Finally, fellow workers, as we await the end of this evil scourge, it is important that we all call on God for help as no human efforts seems so far to be yielding any significant result.
“We need to come together irrespective of our religion, language, race or creed to fight spiritedly this pandemic and come out stronger, better, healthier and alive because, in unity, is our strength. Next year promises the usual elaborate May Day Celebrations. Till then, please, continue to stay safe,” the Ondo NLC Chairman and the Secretary said.