As workers globally celebrate Workers’ Day amidst Covid-19 pandemic on Friday, textile workers have urged President Muhammadu Buhari to intensify efforts in reviving the textile industry to create mass decent jobs and boost Nigerian economy.
Speaking under the aegis of National Union Of Textile, Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria (NUTGTWN), the Union, who dedicated 2020 Workers Day to two veterans that died recently, commended workers on the front line of the fight against Covid-19 for their efforts, while tasking other workers to increase their productivity as federal government gradually ease the lockdown from next Monday.
The Textile Union, in a statement jointly signed by its President, Comrade John Adaji and acting General Secretary, Comrade Ali Baba, said, “salute our members in the textile, garment and tailoring industries across the country, veterans, Nigerian workers and working people worldwide on the 2020 May Day. Our NEC extends May Day greetings to all our employers, government, the civil society, development partners and friends.
“We salute President Muhammadu Buhari for his commitment to revive the labour intensive textile industry, the bold and innovative measures by his administration to revive the cotton, textile and garment (CTG) sector in line with the vision to diversify the nation’s economy. Textile Union will continue to partner and support President Muhammadu Buhari in his determination to revive the industry, create mass decent jobs and rebuild the nation’s economy.
“May Day offers us the great opportunity to celebrate the dignity of labour. For the working class, it is a period of reflection and a period to celebrate the role of workers in the fight for democracy and social justice. It is a special day to draw global attention to the plight of workers worldwide. Unfortunately, for the first time in over 100 years, workers around the world will not be able to celebrate this year’s May Day with the usual fanfare due to the novel Coronavirus disease.
“We salute workers worldwide for sustaining humanity during this pandemic. We commend the front line healthcare workers and other workers including those in textile and garment, emergency services, agriculture, food and retail, print and electronic media, transport, education, energy, oil and gas and informal sector who have continued to work hard to keep society functioning at a time most countries are under various forms of lockdown to slow the spread of Covid-19.
“We join the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the global labour movement to call on the government and private sector employers in particular to protect jobs and ensure full pay for all workers particularly at this period of Covid-19 pandemic through a variety of means, mutually agreed through collective bargaining.
“Salaries are core elements of employment contracts and collective bargaining agreements. We will resist any attempt to slash or deny our members their salaries on account of Covid-19. It is more necessary than ever for both employers and labour to consult each other and collaborate on this and other issues of vital importance to the survival and growth of the organisation and welfare of workers.
“We shall continue to intensify our campaign for productivity improvement on the part of our members and at the same time maintain zero tolerance to exploitation and violation of workers’ rights. As economic activity gradually resumes, we call on our members to redouble their efforts towards productivity improvement.
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“Covid-19 is far from being over. We must therefore continue to observe the preventive measures both at home and workplaces; wear your face masks and hand gloves, wash your hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer regularly, maintain social distancing, avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth. Employers must provide adequate protective equipment for the workers to avoid workplace transmission.
“We dedicate this year’s May Day to two great veterans of the union who died recently namely; Comrade Nasiru Adeyinka Lawal, 4th democratically two-term elected President of the Union (1996-2004) died on Tuesday April 21, 2020 in Lagos after a brief illness and Comrade Andrew S.E. Aisagbonhi, former Deputy General Secretary of the Union (2004-2009) died on Thursday April 23, 2020 in Benin, Edo state.”