From Femi Oyelola, Kaduna
The National Union Textile Germent and Tailoring workers of Nigeria (NUTGTWN) has said , for the first time in over 100 years, workers around the world will not be able to celebrate this year’s May Day with the usual fanfare due to the novel Coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
This was contained in a statement signed by John Adaji and Ali Baba , President and Secretary General respectively and made available to media in Kaduna yesterday.
“The Union salute workers worldwide for sustaining humanity during this pandemic. commending in particular the frontline healthcare workers and other workers including those in textile and garment, emergency services, agriculture, food and retail, print and electronic media, transport, education, energy, oil and gas and informal sector who have continued to work hard to keep society functioning at a time most countries are under various forms of lockdown to slow the spread of COVID-19.”
The statement added that as an affiliate of NLC, our union will continue to partner with the Federal and state governments as well as employers to contain the spread and minimize the impact of COVID-19 pandemic.
“We join the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the global labour movement to call on the government and private sector employers in particular to protect jobs and ensure full pay for all workers particularly at this period of COVID-19 pandemic through a variety of means, mutually agreed through collective bargaining.
“As rightly observed by both the NLC and NECA, workers’ salaries are core elements of employment contracts and collective bargaining agreements.
“ We will resist any attempt to slash or deny our members their salaries on account of COVID-19. It is more necessary than ever for both employers and labour to consult each other and collaborate on this and other issues of vital importance to the survival and growth of the organisation and welfare of workers.
“We shall continue to intensify our campaign for productivity improvement on the part of our members and at the same time maintain zero tolerance to exploitation and violation of workers’ rights.
“ As economic activity gradually resumes, we call on our members to redouble their efforts towards productivity improvement. COVID-19 is far from being over.
“ We must therefore continue to observe the preventive measures both at home and workplaces; wear your face masks and hand gloves, wash your hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer regularly, maintain social distancing, avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth and stay informed by following advice given by public health authorities.
“We call on employers to take necessary measures to prevent the spread of the virus at workplaces. Employers must provide adequate protective equipment for the workers to avoid workplace transmission,” the statement further said.