FG to sanction employers over indecent working conditions

The federal government says it will sanction employers of labour over indecent working conditions that negate local and international labour laws.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Simon Lalong, said this during the inauguration of the Decent Work Country Programme (DWCP) III (2023-2027) on Friday in Abuja.

The programme, organised by the labour ministry and the International Labour Organisation (ILO), aims to promote jobs, guarantee rights at work, extend social protection and promote social dialogue.

Mr Lalong said decent work deficits had continued to abound in the economy as informal employment has become the norm while well-paying jobs that offer social protection benefits are the exception.

According to him, workers in the informal economy are exposed to poor working conditions, low pay, long work hours, low unionism rates, and unsafe working environments.

“The government is aware of the activities of some of these employers, who, due to the pursuit of profit, disregard the extant labour laws.

“This creates work environments that frustrate the attainment of decent work for employers or employees because of the quest for profit,” the minister said.

He decried that workers are exploited and made to work in an indecent environment against labour laws.

“Hence, we shall not fail to sanction such organisations and ensure that the rights and privileges of Nigerian workers are protected,” the minister said.

He said he had directed the inspectorate department in the ministry to wake up to its responsibility and ensure full compliance with decent work regulations across the country.

Mr Lalong said implementing the programme would ensure that existing and new jobs in both the public and private sectors are productive.

Vanessa Phala, ILO Country Director to Nigeria, said the process of developing the DWCP was robust, inclusive, and consultative with the participation of the social partners.

Ms Phala said the ILO, in 2021, conducted a diagnostic study on the decent work situation in Nigeria, which gave it reliable data on the situation at hand.

She said several recommendations were made to address the decent work deficits in Nigeria.

UN Resident Coordinator Matthias Schmale said Nigeria lagged in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“We must really work very hard together to ensure that Nigeria, like everyone else, catches up in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” he said.