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Reps condemn casualization of workers in public, private sector

By Nicholas Kalu, Abuja

The House of Representatives, on Tuesday, condemned the continuous and persistent casualization of workers and the degrading treatment meted out on them by their employers in the private and public sectors.

It, therefore, called on 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 mandated the Committee on Labour, Employment and Productivity to ensure compliance.

These followed a motion on the Need to Curb the Scourge of Casualization of Employment in Nigeria by Hon. Tajudeen Adeyemi Adefisoye.

The House noted that casualisation of workers has assumed a worrisome dimension in private and public sectors with employers capitalizing on the high level of unemployment to subject workers to servitude under deplorable working conditions.

It noted that statistics from the Nigerian Labour Congress indicates that many workers in the telecommunications, oil and gas, mining, steel, banking and insurance industries are on casual employment.

The House said it was 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.

It said it was also aware about the agitation by various stakeholders such as the Nigerian Labour Congress, Trade Union Congress and other Non- Governmental Organizations for the Federal Government to develop the political will to enforce compliance with decent and acceptable working environment in Nigeria.

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The House was worried about daily reported cases of workers who had worked for several years as casual workers or contract staff without being regularised.

It is also worried about 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.

The House said it also knew that the International Labour Organization recognizes the transition of employees from temporary to permanent employment within three to twelve months of their contract but in one of its reports, Nigeria was grossly indicted on account of frequent termination of contract workers ’employment when they became qualified to be considered for permanent employment.

The House expressed concern 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.

Reps were also concerned about the lack of legal status for workers which makes them dispensable at the convenience of their employers.

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