Although casualisation is a most dehumanizing way to work anywhere, the gale of retrenchment blowing across many establishments in the country is likely to blow no fewer than two million Nigerian workers to web of casualisation.
LEADERSHIP findings showed that many companies who can no-longer pay workers’ salaries as a result of the parlous state of the Nigerian economy are considering converting their staff numbering over two million to casual workers until the nation’s economy improves before their appointments are ratified as full staff.
Labour experts who spoke to our correspondent said the harsh nature of the nation’s economy which is increasingly making it difficult for most companies to pay their workers is a recipe for casualisation.
A Human Resource Manager of a blue chip company told LEADERSHIP that,” The economy is very bad, companies are not making profit. We are just struggling to remain afloat. Rather than sacking our workers to go and roam the streets without nothing doing, is it not better to convert them to casual workers for now and later when we bounce back we regularize their appointments? We are likely to convert 500 of our staff to casual till futher notice. ”
Labour Unions in the past had tried every tactics to curtail menace of casualisation and outsourcing of jobs across the country but it seems this effort never yield any good result.
Thus, companies like Chivita Company Ltd could come out openly to disclose that they make use of casual workers in producing their products when one of them died.
Casualization cuts across virtually all sectors of the Nigerian economy such as oil and gas, telecommunications, banking, construction, mining, among others.
According to experts, the development is assuming a worrisome dimension because of the saturated labour market and quest to maximize more profits by multinationals and corporate entities.
Unfortunately, the President, Association of Banks Insurance and Financial Institutions (ASSBIFI), Comrade Oyinkan Olasanoye lamented that casualization and outsourcing would be difficult to stop in Nigeria as a result of unemployment.
Speaking with LEADERSHIP, Comrade Olasanoye stressed, “we have tried to stop casualization and outsourcing using the day earmarked by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), October 7, to educate companies and organisation on decent work.
“We feel that there is need to meet with the companies supplying that casual staff to give them conditions of service that must be strictly adhered to” she said.
Speaking in a similar manner, the President General of Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, Comrade Bobboi Bala Kaigama said government has no option but to support labour to nip on the bud, the problem of outsourcing and casualization.
His words: “it is working for the common good of the nation and the workers. Some of this companies that are practicing outsourcing are not from Nigeria, so if you don’t protect the interest of your own citizens, then something is wrong with the government.
Comrade Kaigama maintained that the laws in as much it affect individual, government is also loosing. That is part of what we are saying that the casual workers won’t be able to pay as a result of stipend they are earning and those paying the tax are not being treated fairly.
The State chairman of TUC, Comrade Francis Niyi Ogunremi stressed that government is the part of the problem, saying local government also engage casual staff and if they are doing this, there is way you can discourage it.
Ogunremi said many of the companies that are engaging casual staff are being own by the politicians and they are not considering others interest but personal interest.
Commenting on the development, President of Nigeria Labour Congress, Comrade Ayuba Waba, said the issue of casualization is illegal to the country’s law and is tantamount to modern slavery.
Wada added,” that even ILO convention is against casualization as no policy in Nigeria that support casualization and we have responded to this from one company to another and that is why our union is responding to the issue. Where they have difficulty to will get back to us and we join hands to fight casualization. “
On if NLC has data of the casual workers, Comrade Waba said, “we are working hand in hand with labour inspectors and I am not sure if they have those record. We don’t have a centralised data but I am sure unions are responding to issue of casualization in their industry. I also know that oil and gas union are doing something as regards the issue. No centralised data but each union that is affected with this menace would have data to use. Some of the information about this ill treatment, we get it from our unions. “
Narrating ordeals of casual workers one of the casual workers that was shot by the police at Chivita company, Victor Oyare said the money given to them per day is one thousand one hundred naira only (N1,100) while those on the night duty were being paid N1,200 and he added that about 35 people work in his own department.