** Says it won’t encourage employers to disengage staff without dialogue, clearance from Labour ministry
** Approves partial resumption of work for senior public servants
ABUJA - The Federal Government says it will work to ensure that there are no job losses arising from the extreme effects of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on the economy.
The Minister of Labour, Dr. Chris Ngige, said this on Thursday in his May Day message released by his media aide, Mr. Emmanuel Nzomiwu.
Ngige said that the Federal Government would look at the four-pillar plan of policy responses to the pandemic laid out by the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
He said that such policies were intended to be human-centered and built on global solidarity.
He said that all relevant factors to the nation’s workforce would be identified, analysed and solidified to ensure job retention and continued realisation of decent work agenda.
The minister said that the Federal Government would be guided by labour standards as benchmarks for social and employment protection at this time of vulnerabilities.
He stated that the government would not encourage employers to disengage any member of their staff without the prerequisite social dialogue and clearance from the ministry.
Ngige commended workers in the health sector for being in the frontline of ensuring that the raging pandemic was contained.
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“Over the years, May 1 has been a unique day in the world of work. It is a day dedicated to workers as partners in socio – economic development of nations,” he said.
The minister, however, said that the 2020 May Day celebration was different “because we are all taking refuge in our respective homes, staying off the streets in a bid to stay alive and beat an invisible enemy.
“The COVID-19 outbreak has affected modes of work and the utilisation of teleworking is on the increase.
“As you work from home, I urge you to do your best in that regard and to endeavour to demarcate your personal life from work,” he said.
Ngige said that the Federal Government was not unmindful of the fact that businesses in both the private and public sectors had suffered.
“Sustainability of the enterprise has become a subject of concern. The worries precipitated by the COVID-19 crisis are further compounded by worries of maintaining a source of livelihood.
“In this regard, the government and social partners will have a look at the four-pillar plan of policy responses to COVID-19 crisis laid out by ILO.
“These are intended to be human-centered and built on global solidarity and it will be in addition to the Federal Government evolving plan of action to sustain the economy in the context of current global crisis,” he said.
He urged workers to imbibe the ILO laid out workers’ response options to COVID-19 which include efficient social dialogue at all levels.
Others are mobilisation and allocation of human and financial resources without exacerbating the national debt crisis and promotion of solidarity and non-discrimination/stigmatisation of workers and sick persons among others.
Also, the Federal Government on Thursday directed officers on Grade Level 14 and above as well as those on essential services to resume work with effect from Monday, May 4.
Dr. Folasade Yemi–Esan, Head of Civil Service of the Federation (HOCSF), gave the directive in a statement signed by Mrs. Olawunmi Ogunmosunle, Director of Information, Office of the HOCSF.
The directive, according to Yemi-Esan, is furtherance to President Muhammadu Buhari’s broadcast on a phased and gradual easing of the lockdown measures occasioned by COVID-19.
According to the directive, offices are to work three times a week, namely Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and close at 2:00 p.m. on each day.
“The concerned officers are to ensure full compliance with the directives and advice on the prevention of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“These measures include maintenance of social distancing, regular washing and/or sanitising of hands and wearing of face masks.
“Officers are to limit the number of visitors they receive to the barest minimum, they should also ensure that the visitors comply with safety and health advices/ directives,” Yemi-Esan said.
HOCSF also advised Permanent Secretaries and Chief Executive Officers to ensure that hand washing and sanitation facilities are placed at entrances and strategic points in their Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
“Infrared thermometers are to be provided at the entrance of the MDAs for compulsory temperature checks while, as much as practicable, the entrance to the MDAs is limited to only one.
“It will be noted that the Federal Secretariat Complexes have been decontaminated while efforts are ongoing to do same in other public offices,” she said.
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