A former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar, has called on the National Assembly to stop employers of labour from sacking workers or slashing their salaries sequel to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Atiku, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 general election, also urged the federal government to increase spending on health sector after the pandemic.
The ex-Vice President, in a statement on Thursday to mark the occasion of May Day, said; “it will not be asking for too much to urge the National Assembly to forbid any employer of labour from penalizing workers in the effect of the pandemic.”
The management of International Aviation College Ilorin, Kwara State, had earlier in the week announced the implementation of between 10-42 per cent pay cut for all members of staff across the entire organization for the month of April 2020. The pay cut, however, exempts staff on or below N80,000.00 per month, it was learnt.
Before then, Arik Air, one of the airlines in the country, had implemented 80 per cent cut for staff while 90 per cent of the staff would go on compulsory furlough without pay.
“The grim reality of the situation that we are in today calls for greater understanding between government and labour. It is therefore time that both entities saw each other as partners in progress,” he added.
Atiku said the outbreak of COVID-19 has vindicated organised labour’s long time agitation for improved investments in the nation’s healthcare service system. “There is no doubt that when the world comes out of this depressing anguish, governments will look around and see the absolute necessity to increase spending on healthcare, human capital development, better standard of living for the people and all those other topical issues that Labour has long called our attention toward.
“We are all witnesses to the reality today that governments across the world have fallen short of the requirement to keep people safe and healthy if there is a sudden and unexpected shock. “For a developing country like ours, this is a moment of truth – a time for us to look inwards and accept that the strength of our national security is intrinsically connected to how virile our workforce is.
“That is a lesson that we must be ready to learn from this pandemic. That no matter what, we are all exposed to the same dangers when the time is dire,” he said.
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