The TUC launched a housing program for its staff.
The Federal Government on Thursday advised state governments to make land available for the construction of houses for Nigerian workers nationwide.
The Minister of Labour and Productivity, Emeka Wogu, gave the advice in Abuja at the official launch of the Unity Workers Housing Programme of the Trade Union Congress (TUC).
The minister said that the project was one practical way of supporting and achieving the mass houses-for-all target.
According to Mr. Wogu, besides the fact that the scheme will make workers comfortably own their homes, it will also offer employment opportunities to the teaming unemployed youth.
“It is worth saying that there is a tripartite relationship among government, labour and workers in Nigeria, where government provides the land,” he said.
“One major area of the Transformation Agenda is affordable houses and today marks the beginning of the programme in Abuja.
“It is good that labour too has keyed into the housing transformation, not only in terms of employment but also in the provision of houses to its membership in all parts of the nation.”
Mr. Wogu expressed government’s delight in the mutual cooperation, stressing that government would continue to promote those benefits which would make the coalition stronger and healthier.
In his remarks, the Minister for Special Duties, Kabiru Turaki, said that the current housing transformation would ensure workers comfort.
He commended the union for conceiving the programme and called for continued collaboration between government and trade unions as a measure for achieving success in collective bargaining.
Similarly, Bala Mohammed, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, promised to support the union in the provision of qualitative, functional and affordable houses in the territory.
He commended the union for launching its membership housing programme and urged other labour movements to do the same. He added that the Jonathan administration would support the trade union to give its members the desired comfort.
In his remarks, the TUC President, Bobboi Kaigama, said that the project, which would commence with 20,000 units in Abuja, was strictly for TUC members only.
According to him, the effort is to enable the union provide decent housing for its members as promised during the electioneering campaign.
“It has always been my conviction that every worker is entitled to have qualitative shelter of his or her own,” he said.
“It is our right and an absolute necessity not a luxury meant for only a privileged few.
“We are the engine room of the economy; so it is simply indefensible that any worker, least of all, a senior staff should be a perpetual tenant.
“I and my comrades in the TUC are therefore gratified that the federal and the state governments as well as the FCT are beginning to actively empathise with this idea.’’
Mr. Kaigama explained that the union’s desire to develop the project in partnership with the Rock of Ages group, a private construction firm, was borne out of the high performance of the company.
The TUC president, however, stressed that the members would be required to register online to qualify for the allocation of the houses.
He said that modalities had been put in place to prevent non-members of the union from participating in the registration.
The payment shall cover a 20-year period with 10 per cent of the total cost as initial payment.