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Workers in Nigeria on Monday joined their counterparts across the world to mark the 2023 May Day, popularly known as Workers’ Day.

The day is marked to renew workers’ agitation for improved working conditions and general welfare across the world.

The theme for the 2023 Workers’ Day is “Workers’ Rights and Socio-economic Justice “.

In Lagos, workers converged at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena, also known as Onikan Stadium, to celebrate the day.

Some of the workers expressed their views hoping that the incoming administration would prioritise issues affecting them and also improve the economy.

According to them, the issues include outsourcing and casualisation in the sector and delayed and poor retirement packages, among others, which deprive workers of their rights.

The Chairman, National Union of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions Employee, Mr Ajila Wasiu, urged the incoming administration to address outsourcing in the sector.

“We are in a situation where many workers, more than 60 to 70 per cent in the industry, are either outsourced or contract staff.

“This is a situation where you have given your best, and many of us have gone through rigorous activities in bringing up the institutions, to contribute to the growth of the economy.

“However, it is very unfortunate that at the end of the day, workers in that institution are either contracted or outsourced; and that is unacceptable.

“The union is making an effort to correct it; it is a work in progress and hopefully, we believe with the general collaboration and in agreement with stakeholders, things will be regularised,“ Wasiu said.

Also, Mr Oladokun Oyedotun, the Unit Chairman, National Union of Food, Beverage and Tobacco Employees, 7up Bottling Company Limited Chapter, said there was the need to address retirement packages of retirees.

Oyedotun said, “The interest of workers should be utmost priority to the government because we have many things we have been agitating for.

“We will be happy if government did something about the retirement package to benefit retirees, including their welfare and families.”

In his remarks, the State Chairman, Nigerian Union of Teachers, Lagos Council, Mr Akintoye Hassan, said this year’s May Day was significant because it was the election year.

According to him, it is significant because new leadership emerged in the Nigeria Labour Congress, in the person of Mr Joe Ajaero as president.

“It is also a period where we just had the national election in which in this same month a new president, new group of Individuals will be inaugurated to the see to the affairs of the nation at the executive and legislative levels.

“So, we are having a new crop of leadership from both labour and partisan politics; this is a new direction, new people, now coming on board to work together to actually see to the affairs of the nation and workers in general.

“We urge both parties as stakeholders to work for the benefit of average Nigerians; what we have lacked over the years, especially from the political leaders, is a high sense of sincerity of purpose.

“It is high time that we put this behind us; there are lots of challenges facing the nation and even globally including economic crisis, insecurity and we have a lot to contend with; it is a year for serious assignment for both labour and political leaders, “Hassan said.

Earlier, the state Chairman, Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), Lagos Chapter, Mr Gbenga Ekundayo, said workers’ salaries and wages had improved over the years.

Ekundayo said, however, that workers had fared rather poorly over the years at the same time.

“The reason is, the level of increase we have in salaries and wages is not commensurate with the level of inflation that we have in the country.

“Workers have not fared well enough over time and we need that to change, going forward.

“Also, this year, we will only continue to encourage workers to continue to speak out, and bind together, so that we can struggle and have the gains together to emancipate ourselves from the claws of those bad employers. “This is so that we can gain more for ourselves and improve our lives and the lives of our families.’’

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Julius Adegunna, a writer, and publisher of good news and reports. He is also a trainer in Writing and Publishing, a Media Consultant and an Entrepreneur. A 1987 Graduate of International Relations of the University of Ife, (Now Obafemi Awolowo University) with Post Graduate Diploma in International Relations, and Master in Communication Studies of Lagos State University. He lives in Lagos, Nigeria.

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