By Christiana Ekpa
The House of Representatives has condemned the continuous and persistent casualisation of workers and the degrading treatment meted to them by their employers both in the public and private sectors.
The Lower Chamber equally asked the federal government to put mechanism and policies in place to ensure that employers of labour conform to internationally acceptable standards of employment.
The House resolutions followed the adoption of a motion on the need to curb the scourge of casualisation of employment in Nigeria, sponsored by Hon. Tajudeen Adeyemi Adefisoye.
Adefisoye while moving the motion lamented that casualisation of workers has assumed a worrisome dimension in the private and public sectors with employers capitalising on the high level of unemployment to subject workers to servitude under deplorable working conditions.
According to him, the statistics from the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) indicates that many workers in the telecommunications, oil and gas, mining, steel, banking and insurance industries are on casual employment.
He said the House is aware that Section 7(1) of the Labour Act, 2004 provides that no worker should be engaged on probation or temporary employment for more than three months.
The lawmaker said the House is also aware of the agitation by various stakeholders such as the NLC, Trade Union Congress (TUC) and other non-governmental organisations for the federal government to develop the political will to enforce compliance with decent and acceptable working environment in Nigeria.
He expressed concerns about the daily reported cases of workers who had worked for several years as casual workers or contract staff without being regularized and the gory details of foreign firms mostly, Indian, Chinese and Lebanese firms physically assaulting and restricting the movement of their workers and exposing them to various industrial hazards.
He said: “The House is further aware that the International Labour Organization recognizes the transition of employees from temporary to permanent employment within three to 12 months of their contract but in one of its reports, Nigeria was grossly indicted on account of frequent termination of contract of workers when they become qualified to be considered for permanent employment.”
“Concerned about the emotional and psychological effects on the casual workers and contract staff who are arbitrarily dismissed at the whims and caprices of their employers without any benefits whatsoever and lack of legal status which makes them dispensable at the convenience of their employers.”
Adopting the motion, the House mandated its Committee on Labour, Employment and Productivity to ensure compliance.