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Oshiomhole warns against slashing workers wages, other benefits

By Idowu Abdullahi,

The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomole, has warned employers of labour from both public and private sector against slashing workers wages and other benefits amid the coronavirus induced economic effects on businesses and states’ economies.

He explained that the current trying times remained the appropriate moments for employers of labour in the country to exhibits a high level of empathy and not make sacking of workers or slashing workers wages as their first point of call in navigating the coronavirus induced storm on businesses and economies.

Oshiomhole, who is a former Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) President, noted that states and private employers should act as responsible social partners by resorting to cutting workers’ salaries as part of measures to deal with the economic impact of the deadly respiratory disease.

The APC Chairman, through a message to Nigerian workers to commemorate the May Day 2020, explained that the looming economic crisis and inflation as a result of the effect of coronavirus will hit harder on the part of salaries earners, hence the need for employers not to contribute to the workers’ dilemma by downsizing the workforce or using the option of a pay cut.

The former Edo State Governor urged employers to use the coronavirus situation in showing the humane content of industrial relations by not shifting the burden occasioned by the global pandemic on their workers.

He further advised state governments to take a cue from the Federal Government to improve the social content of their respective development agendas and be sensitive to the poor condition of workers in determining trade-offs as policy options are considered in this crisis.

“This crisis will surely bring to the fore its burdens. Employers should be compassionate enough not to shift the burdens exclusively on the workers. Dispensing with labour should not be the first option as organisations re-strategise their way out of the crisis.

“For instance, cutting wages is most unhelpful in the circumstance. It’s like asking an anaemic patient to donate blood to save the lives of other patients in need of blood transfusion.

“A doctor who does that should have his licence withdrawn. So, a policy adviser who recommends wage cut is abysmally unconscious of the mood of the present which is that of compassion and solidarity.

“State governments should not make workers bear a disproportionate part of the burden. When you cut a workers’ poor wage, you are further limiting his power to be an economic player.

“How can the worker make effective demand for the goods and services produced when you shrink his income? It can only bring about a vicious cycle of poverty. Rather than cut wages or retrench, state governments should do away with avoidable overheads to reduce the cost of governance,” the message read.

 

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