As Nigerian Workers
joined their counterpart’s all over the world to mark this year’s International Workers’ Day with the theme “The Working Class and the Quest for Socio-Economic Revival”, Labour in the state has lamented the casualisation of workers in both public and private sectors of the economy.
In their separate interviews with The Tide at the venue of this year’s Workers’ Day celebration held at Yakubu Gowon Stadium Elekahia, Port Harcourt, yesterday the state chairperson, Nigeria Labour Congress NLC, Comrade Beatrice Itubo said that the organized labour in the state has observed with a great concern the use of new management techniques by employers of labour especially in the private sector to subject workers to minimum working conditions.
Itubo said such techniques are antithetical to the collective struggle of labour and the extant labours laws of the country, stressing that labour can no longer tolerate such deviant attitude and behaviour of employers to the law of the country.
She said the absurd situation has given rise to situation where employers of labour have abscond an unchecked powers to sack workers through unconventional means, adding that such ultimate power would henceforth be checked by labour for employers to adhere to labour laws.
The NLC Chairperson stressed that after workers are sacked upon demand for their terminal benefits, employers usually resorted to hiring armed security operatives to intimidate, harass and beat up their erstwhile employees which is manifest to violation of the provision of the labour laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
She bemoaned a situation where employers have no specified terms and conditions of service for their employees, assuring the workers found in such precarious condition of the swift action and support of the organized labour towards correcting the abnormalities where necessary.
She called upon His Excellency to caution such defaulting employers to give priority attention to issues about workers in both public and private sectors of the nation’s economy.
Also speaking to The Tide, the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) Rivers State Chapter, Comrade Chika Onuegbu said that the joint leadership of the organized labour in the country had proposed and presented a new minimum wage of N56,000.00 (Fifty-six thousand naira) to the Federal Government.
Onuegbu informed the state government that the amount translates to just $164 dollars per month which is less than a day and half minimum wage pay in the United States of America.
The Tide Chairman said that Labour expects that in line with the principles of social dialogue and tripartism the government through the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment would immediately convene a meeting of the tripartite parties to commence negotiations that will ultimately usher ina new minimum wage for the Nigerian workers.
More Youths Engage In Artisanal Refining
As unemployment bites harder amidst rising cost of living, more youths in rural communities in Rivers State are now going into artisanal refining business to earn a living.
The Tide reliably gathered that some youths residing in Port Harcourt City were gradually moving to rural communities for bunkering business otherwise known as ‘kpo-fire’
Narrating his experience to The Tide, Mr Godwin Ibeneme who resides in Rumuekini in Akpor, said he was introduced into the kpor-fire business by his father.
Ibeneme, who hails from Ibaa/ Obelle area of Emohua Local Government Area, said his father compelled him to join other youths who were thriving in the business in the community.
“My father came to my house here in Rumuekini, and told me to come to the village, that other young men are making it through kpo-fire’ bunkering since I have lost my job.
“ I didn’t waste time to give it a trial, because I had really looked for what to do, since I lost my job at a fast-food company. Since then, I can tell you that I have been taking care of myself, unlike before when everything looked hopeless”, he explained.
The Tide also learnt that the kpo-fire’ business was currently thriving in Isiokpo axis of Ikwerre Local Government Area of the state.
A resident of the community who pleaded anonymity, told The Tide that there was a high level of discrimination in the business.
According to him, he decided to engage himself at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, to hustle for his daily bread, instead of staying idle.
The Tide recalls that the Federal Government had promised to build modular refineries in the Niger Delta region since 2019 as an alternative to illegal oil bunkering in the region as well as to create employment for the youth.
The Tide also reports that three years after the promise was made, nothing has been done in that regard.
Oyigbo Cassava Plant, Legacy Project -Akawor
The Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State, Amb. Desmond Akawor, says the cassava plant project, being executed by the Rivers State Government in Oyigbo is a legacy project that will generate huge employment for Rivers people.
He said the project was well thought out and would stand the test of time to tackle unemployment as well as ensure food availability in the state.
Akawor made the remarks during an interaction with journalists at the weekend in Port Harcourt.
According to him, the cassava plant which was supposed to be executed by the previous administrations, was initially planned to be a joint venture between the state government and some organisations, but that the other partners did not pay their counterpart funding.
“The steps taken by the Wike-led administration to bring this project to life without the counterpart funding is commendable, because of the huge economic benefits it will give to the state.
“Many people have also been employed at the construction sites of flyovers being executed by Julius Berger. Eighty percent of those working there are indigenes, while the company provides the expatriates”, he said.
The PDP chairman also hinted on the plans of the state government to privatise the Buguma fish farm and banana farm, among others, so as to make them more viable.
He said that the state government had not abandoned the projects initiated by the previous administration, but was thinking on what to do with them.
Akawor maintained that the employment of 5,000 persons into the civil service was still ongoing, saying the government is only taking time to ensure that indigenes of the state are employed.
PH Airport Resumes Skeletal International Flight Operations
Skeletal flight operations have resumed at the international wing of the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa.
This follows the lifting of the curfew that was imposed in the state by the Rivers State Government to check cases of insecurity in the state.
The Tide’s checks show that many of the airlines that operate international flights are yet to resume flight operations, even though the coast is clear for them to resume operations.
The Cronaux Airline, it was gathered, is the only airline at the moment that has fully resumed international flight.
Other airlines that operate at the international wing, like the Lufthansa Airline, Turkish Airline, and Ethiopian Airline are yet to resume operations.
The Acting Head of Corporate Affairs, FAAN, Kunle Akinbode, confirmed the resumption of international flight operations at the airport, last Friday, saying the international wing is now open for international airlines to operate.
He explained that the curfew that was imposed in the state delayed the resumption of international flights operations, even when issues of Covid-19 standard protocols had been addressed.
“Now that the curfew is over and the international wing is open for flight operations, it is left for each of the airlines to work out its own schedule for operations.
“It will not be the duty of the airport management to sort things out for them and know when to resume. I know that some have started. Lufthansa has said they will resume next month, August”, Akinbode said.
The Tide reports that the international wing of the Port Harcourt Airport had been shut since the Covid-19 lockdown, and did not reopen when other international airports in Lagos, Abuja and Kano among others reopened for international operations.
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