What we expect of new minister amid economic hardship: Labour unions

Two labour leaders on Sunday said the incoming Minister of Labour needed to empathise with workers, especially at a critical time when the economy is faced with challenges affecting them.

The leaders spoke in interviews in Lagos ahead of President Bola Tinubu’s swearing-in of new ministers on Monday.

The chairman of the Lagos chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Funmi Sessi, expressed optimism in Simon Lalong, appointed the Minister of Labour and Employment portfolio to do well, given his experience.

Ms Sessi said Mr Lalong should use his experience as a former governor of Plateau State to also deal with labour issues.

“The future is bright with labour and Lalong as the minister, all things being equal, if he will not change, and with the good industrial relationship that he maintained with the labour unions in his state.

“I hope he will extend it to the labour centres in Nigeria, including Nigeria Labour Congress, all workers, not only in the public sector but private as well; both formal and informal, “ she said.

The labour leader said that the sector would need a minister with compassion, experience, one who was humane.

Sessi said, “Someone that will give all to ensure that he will create more ground for employment, productivity, high yield of productivity.”

Also, the Lagos secretary of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, Aladetan Abiodun, said the new labour minister would face an inherited tense industrial space due to fuel subsidy removal negatively impacting all fixed-income earners.

“I strongly believe that if this issue is not properly managed, it may snowball into a full-scale industrial crisis.

“It is precisely this reason that we want a minister who will hit the ground running.

“Also, we want the issue of the new minimum wage to be quickly settled; this is another area where we are going to need quick intervention,“ Mr Aladetan said.


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