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Employers Must Not Sack Workers Over COVID-19 – Oshiomhole

National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole urged employers not to sack workers.

According to him, stakeholders should “deepen the humane content of industrial relations” this season.

He said states should not cut workers’ salaries in dealing with the economic impact of the Coronavirus pandemic.

In a message to Nigerian workers on the occasion of May Day 2020, the former Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) President pleaded with private sector employers to act as responsible social partners.

“This crisis will surely bring to the fore its burdens. Employers should be compassionate enough not to shift the burdens exclusively on the workers.

“Dispensing with labour should not be the first option as organisations re-strategise their way out of the crisis,” he said.

READ ALSO: Nigerian Health Workers, Doctors Infected With COVID-19 Rise From 40 to 113 In One Week

Oshiomhole, a former Edo State Governor, noted that with the looming economic crisis, inflation would surely make nonsense of the N30, 000 minimum wage.

According to him, the Buhari administration is fully conscious of the vital link between social and physical security.

“In this regard, I earnestly plead with state governments to take a cue from the Federal Government to improve the social content of their respective development agendas.

“In any case, the imperative of overall national planning for inclusive and sustainable development makes this proposition imperative.

“State governments should be sensitive to the poor condition of workers in determining trade-offs as policy options are considered in this crisis.

“For instance, cutting wages is most unhelpful in the circumstance. It’s like asking an anaemic patient to donate blood to save the lives of other patients in need of blood transfusion.

“A doctor who does that should have his licence withdrawn. So, a policy adviser who recommends wage cut is abysmally unconscious of the mood of the present which is that of compassion and solidarity.

“State governments should not make workers bear a disproportionate part of the burden.

“When you cut a workers’ poor wage, you are further limiting his power to be an economic player.

“How can the worker make effective demand for the goods and services produced when you shrink his income? It can only bring about a vicious cycle of poverty.

“Rather than cut wages or retrench, state governments should do away with avoidable overheads to reduce the  cost of governance.”

He said President Muhammadu Buhari has reset the button for multi-dimensional change in Nigeria.

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