Food, Beverage & Tobacco Union lament high rate of retrenchment in sector

The Food, Beverage & Tobacco Senior Staff Association (FOBTOB) has expressed sadness over the increased rate of retrenchment of workers by employers in the sector.

The union urged the Federal Government to engage employers in the sector so as to halt the looming crisis the mass lay-offs in the sector may engender in the near future.

The plea was made by the National President of FOBTOB, Quadri Olaleye at the union’s 40th Anniversary Celebration and Awards in Auchi, Edo State.

The anniversary, which was themed “40 Years of Heroic Struggle for Better Living for All: The Challenge, Success and Aspirations” chronicled the struggles of the union in its efforts at promoting the welfare of its members.

Olaleye revealed that the association was engaging the companies in the sector to forestall further redundancies.

The FOBTOB president, who blamed the challenges on the nation’s economy, asked how the redundant workers would celebrate the festive season that is fast approaching, with many dependents to care for.

He urged the government to canvass for the introduction of labour intensive allowance to multinationals as a way to retain labour instead of capital allowances on purchase of sophisticated equipment such as robots and automated packaging machinery that is largely responsible for job losses.

“We have discussed with government that instead of what we call the capital allowance, labour intensive allowance should be introduced. Government should be able to engage companies and our employers’ association in discussions to look at the capacity of the industry and look at the number of workers that should be in that industry to move the food sector forward.

“Government giving some percentages as capital allowance to companies that uses sophisticated machines is totally against the situation of the economy,” the FOBTOB president said.

Olaleye also urged the federal government to find a lasting solution to the influx of substandard products into the country, while appropriate sanctions are put in place to deter smugglers from carrying out their nefarious acts.

He added that the influx of substandard products into the country was partly responsible for increased rate of unemployment, redundancies and factory closures in the sector.

In his keynote address, the chairman of the occasion, Managing Director, Nestle Nigeria plc, Mauricio Alrcon, represented by the Director, Human Resource, Shola Akinyosoye, commended FOBTOB on milestones attained, and called on labour unions to ensure employers take workers welfare seriously.

A keynote presentation on ‘Building stronger union through collective struggle: A challenge for trade unions”, by former General Secretary of Trade Union of Nigeria (TUC), John Kolawole, advised unions to continue to fight for people-focused policies, political will, sustainable development and social security among others to make the country a better society to live in.

Highlights of the ceremony was the presentation of awards to members and companies as well as commissioning of 26-room hostel for use by students of Auchi Polytechnic, and in commemoration of the association’s 40th anniversary celebration.

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