COVID-19: Labour urges government to prioritize workers welfare- By Reginald Okoro


The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) has appealed to governments at all levels to make the welfare of workers top priority to cushion the hardship occasioned by the dreaded Coronavirus pandemic lockdown.

The appeal was contained in a message delivered to Ebonyi workers by Mr Leonard Nkah, NLC chairman in the state.

According to him, prioritising welfare of workers will enhance their living standards and support their families at this period of social and economic stress caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic.

He said that timely payment of salaries, remunerations and other economic palliatives would serve as boosts to enable them observe all precautionary guidelines, regulations and directives that would make them stay safe from the scourge.

He said: “I appeal to the governments at all levels to kindly attend to the workers needs as a matter of urgency.

” Let them pay salaries and renumerations with every other package as palliative to the workers and the people to help them observe the guidelines such as the lockdown, sit-at-home directive, use of face masks and regular hand wash.

“As a leader who feels the pulse of the people, I can state unequivocally that workers are hungry and in dire need of food.

“That it is only the provisions of food and welfare packages and the availability of such will help both the workers and the government achieve a successful fight against pandemic and win the war threatening health and life.”

He urged workers to partner government and other non state actors in the fight to defeat the deadly virus.

“All hands must be on deck and no one should feel less concerned as injury to one is injury to all.

“Even if you don’t have any other thing to contribute I want you to be all out in enlightenment campaigns to help those who don’t really understand what we are facing to really understand and comply with every regulation, ” he said.

Nkah described the 2020 ‘May Day’ as ‘unique’ because it was devoid of its usual fanfare and celebration due to the lockdown brought by the novel Coronavirus ravaging humanity.

He said: “It is with a heart full of burden that I write this message which is unlike any other I’ve ever delivered as a Labour Leader or experienced in our history.

“This year’s May Day is undoubtedly without the normal gatherings, protocols and procedures worldwide and even the blind knows why.

“The global health pandemic of the novel coronavirus has not only changed the world and everything in it as we have known it, it also threathens to make a quick and abrupt end of both people and labour.

“Economies are crashing like a pack of cards with reckless abandon and the rulers of nations are helplessly powerless in the face of an unseen killer agent, the enemy that will destroy everything if not properly tackled, arrested and curbed.

“It would’ve been unimaginable and indeed unbelievable that such a day will come when establishments, companies and factories shut, shops and offices shut, gatherings, even religious gatherings banned and movements restricted.

” Yes, we are not in a war as we’ve known wars to be; nation against Nation, but yet we are in a war situation, more terrible than the conventional wars.

“The world is running and in hiding and this is the best way to overcome this invincible enemy.

“Prevention is far better than cure and we have to preserve ourselves and people from getting infected by this deadly virus which has claimed almost three hundred thousand lives, infected and threatening to take more than three million human lives globally.

“All across the world , the pandemic is raging and leaving a deathly trail of death more than any Tsunami or human disaster ever known.

” But God is. our refuge in Him we trust; we need not be filled with fear and trepidation as if we have no hope, we only need to be prayerful and united in our resolve to adhere to the laid down rules of hygienic practices and social distancing coupled with healthy living.

“I assure you, the great Nigerian workers that we all shall see the end of this thing and celebrate our victory over it.

“There is hope and you and I have to be our brother’s keepers.

” Share love; share care, share provisions in whatever way you can and share health and life and work together with the government and other well meaning organizations in every good and positive enterprise towards victory.”

He applauded Chief Dave Umahi, Governor of Ebonyi and other key non state players in their efforts to curb spread of the virus in the state.

Meanwhile, some workers who spoke with Summitnews urged government to revisit the minimum wage and salary adjustment paid to Ebonyi workers which they alleged were the least in federation.

The workers who lauded Umahi for the giant strides made in physical infrastructure urged him to prioritize workers welfare and social benefits to boost their morale.


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