Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Unpaid salary: Workers laud NASS’s move to criminalise erring employers

Recent move by the National Assembly to criminalise employers that fail to pay salary through a proposed bill has received a big commendation from Nigerian workers.
The workers,  in a statement signed by Joe Ajaero,  said the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) stands as one with the National Assembly on the proposed bill and will in due course set up a special committee to work with the sponsors of the bill to make it a reality.
He stated that it is a step in the right direction and one bill that has become long overdue, adding that Nigerian workers believe that the National Assembly has finally woken up from slumber and decided to stand once again with the working class.

“A worker’s salary is his lifeline. It is his means of sustenance and the essence of his being. When a worker’s salary is delayed or not paid at all, his life is suspended and stripped of all the things that make him a human. It therefore dehumanises him and makes it difficult for him to meet the challenges of everyday life,” he said.

Ajaero said the National Assembly, by this bill sponsored by the Majority Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila, has shown that it knows what to do to positively impact the lives of the citizenry and protect the nation from criminally minded and irresponsible employers.
“To bring it home, a worker’s salary pays for his accommodation, his feeding and that of his wife or wives and children including the extended family; his clothing; medicare; pays children’s school fees and other educational needs; pays for transport and other corollaries. The essence of any man or woman working is for sustenance. His salary becomes the basic instrument for meeting these essential needs,” he said.
He opined that the bill was not only morally right but agrees with international best practices. He said, “in other climes where sanity governs social engagements, workers’ salaries are paid as at when due both in the public service and in private enterprises. How can a worker pay his bills if his salary is denied him at the end of the period?
“Without that salary, the worker becomes greatly exposed to serious social danger making living  uncertain and hopeless. Any organisation that therefore denies the worker this right causes him grievous harm. This harm is not only psycho-social but also spiritual and inflicts deep trauma on him that eventually takes more than that salary to resolve eventually.”
He, however, noted that the workers had been duly informed that some internal intrigues and external pressures have temporarily made the bill to be stood down but maintained that with the support of workers, the bill will become an Act soon.

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