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New Minister of Labour Urged to Prioritize Workers’ Well-being Amid Economic Challenges, Labor Leaders Stress

In the lead-up to the swearing-in of the new ministers on Monday, two prominent labor leaders have voiced the need for the incoming Minister of Labour to demonstrate empathy towards workers, particularly during these trying economic times.

In separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos, the leaders emphasized the significance of addressing the challenges faced by workers in the current economic climate. Mrs. Funmi Sessi, Chairperson of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Lagos Chapter, expressed optimism in Mr. Simon Lalong, who has been designated as the Minister of Labour and Employment. She highlighted Lalong’s prior experience as the former governor of Plateau State and called on him to apply his insights to labor-related matters.

Sessi stated, “The future holds promise for labor under Lalong’s leadership. Given his positive track record of maintaining strong industrial relationships with labor unions in his state, I hope he extends the same approach to labor centers across Nigeria, encompassing workers in both the public and private sectors. This inclusivity is essential to ensuring that the fruits of the labor performed by Nigerian workers are equitably shared.”

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She further underscored the importance of a compassionate and experienced minister, one who would prioritize the welfare of workers and strive to create an environment conducive to employment and increased productivity.

Aladetan Abiodun, Secretary of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, Lagos State Council, weighed in on the challenges ahead for the incoming Minister of Labour. Abiodun highlighted the inherited tense industrial landscape resulting from the fuel subsidy removal, a policy decision that has adversely affected fixed-income earners across the nation.

Voicing his concerns, Abiodun said, “If not managed judiciously, this issue could escalate into a full-blown industrial crisis. This underscores the urgency for the new minister to hit the ground running. Additionally, swift resolution of the new minimum wage matter is paramount, as it necessitates immediate intervention.”

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He called for the Ministry of Labour to fulfill its statutory duties, including stringent labor inspections. Abiodun emphasized that it was crucial for the ministry to hold employers accountable for adhering to employment agreements and upholding the nation’s labor laws. He particularly noted the need for foreign companies to respect Nigerian labor regulations, as their disregard often leads to labor law violations.

With the inauguration of the new ministers on the horizon, the expectations placed upon the incoming Minister of Labour are substantial, as he takes on the critical responsibility of safeguarding the interests and well-being of Nigerian workers during a period of economic uncertainty.

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