In what is seen as positive development in employers/employees’ relationship, the organised private sector (OPS) and labour have agreed to work in sync towards business sustainability and job security as the nation’s economy continues to grapple with the impact of COVID-19.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in Abuja on Monday by between the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC), and Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) seen by BusinessDay, agreed that going forward, there shall be no disruptions of businesses by labour while employers on their part would consult among themselves on any issue, to avoid job losses going forward.
This, the parties said, would guarantee business continuity and job security in post COVID-19 as the economy gradually reopens.
The MoU witnessed by Dennis Zulu, director, International Labour Organisation (ILO), Abuja office, was signed on behalf of the OPS by Timothy Olawale, director-general of NECA, as well as Ayuba Wabba, president of the NLC, and Quadri Olaleye, president of the TUC.
The parties in the MoU agreed to work together for a collective understanding of the impact of COVID-19 on the health of employees and companies. And in doing so, identify joint actions and initiatives aimed at limiting the deterioration of economic activities and creating the conditions for a viable post COVID-19 rebound of businesses and avoid disaster in terms of employment.
They also agreed to jointly prevail on the government to provide necessary economic stimulus packages to businesses, particularly, in the most hit sectors: aviation, hospitality, tourism, manufacturing and transportation.
They further agreed to initiate joint reflections, accompanied by proposals on strategies for creating and developing employment in Nigeria for onward presentation to the government.
The social partners also agreed to work together to prevent further loss of jobs in the private sector by engaging companies in a bid to get them to adopt more humane options, provided that, such engagement would be in tandem with social dialogue principles, respect for rights of each parties and in conformity with labour standard practices
The parties equally agreed to be committed to promoting occupational health and safety at work. It was further agreed that the parties shall consult among themselves before taking any measure to prevent loss of jobs in the private sector.
The parties also agreed to maintain this collaboration, post COVID-19 to address issues of joint concern for the promotion of enterprise competitiveness, decent job creation and protection, and the economic prosperity of the nation.
Nigeria like many other countries has witnessed a rapid deterioration of its economic fabric since the outbreak of COVID-19 with numerous surveys and data showing over 90 percent of production units in the country negatively impacted by the virus, resulting in job cuts across sectors of the economy.