The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) has called on the Federal Government to investigate the mass retrenchments of workers by some large firms in the country, including Guinness, Cadbury, 7-Up and Coca-Cola.
The TUC President, Bobbio Kaigama, who made the appeal at a news briefing, said other companies were Nigeria Breweries, Nestle Nigeria Plc, as well as some construction, oil, and telecommunication companies.
Kaigama said thousands of workers from the companies had been thrown into the already saturated labour market.
“As a centre, we have said no to anti-unionism, retrenchment, redundancies or other so-called downsizing or right sizing, outsourcing and all other forms of job related anomalies. It is unfortunate that retrenchment is seen by employers as the only remedy when an organisation is going through difficult times, this is unacceptable. We urge the government to save the jobs of Nigerian workers,” he said.
The TUC president said that the unemployment rate in Nigeria was alarming, and called on the government to create decent jobs for the large unemployed youth.
“The Federal Government should formulate and implement policies that would serve as catalysts for mass creation of decent jobs, both in the private and public sectors of the economy. By job creation, we do not mean engaging graduates to sweep the streets or operate commercial bikes, alias Okada or Keke Marwa. Rather, we expect the government to urgently create the necessary enabling environment by providing constant electricity, good roads, pipe-borne water, soft-loans, production-inducing tax regime, and good learning environment, among others.”
He said that unemployment in Nigeria was caused by neglect of the agriculture sector, government policy somersaults, and insecurity.
Kaigama said that employment was one of the factors that determined the economic strength and growth of any country.
“Unfortunately the oil and gas, steel, textile, construction and engineering, leather and footwear, maritime industries that are supposed to generate the needed jobs have suffered grave neglect from our leaders. We must collectively resolve and endeavour to birth a renaissance in those sectors,” he said.
Kaigama said a recent report by International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimates that 201 million people are unemployed globally and that the figure may rise to 219 million by 2019.
The report added that the bulk of the unemployed may be from this part of the world unless the right thing is done to prevent it, he said.
The report adds that although Nigeria with an employment rate of 10.4 per cent at the end of 2015 has a better record among 66 countries, its situation is bad, Kaigama said.
Kaigama credits the report as describing Nigeria’s unemployment rate as “worse than 111 countries, including 23 African countries, which have unemployment rates lower than 10.4 per cent”.
He called for “positive corrective steps” to be taken in that direction.