The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has warned employers against stoppage and reduction of workers salary in the country due to COVID-19 pandemic.
In a statement Tuesday, the president of the labour union, Ayuba Wabba, said workers’ salaries are core elements of employment contracts and collective bargaining agreements. He said “stopping it is illegal and will be resisted by workers.”
He said the labour union has directed workers in the country to resist any form of salary deduction or stoppage by any employer as a result of coronavirus.
“Labour is not a commodity to be taken, trampled, and tossed aside. Workers create wealth and demand a decent fraction of the reward of their efforts,” said Mr Wabba, who is also the President of International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).
He urged employers of labour to show solidarity with the sacrifice of workers and people by ensuring wage protection, income support and social inclusion at these trying times.
“This is not the time to stop or deduct from workers’ salaries. Such an action would be both illogical and illegal as workers’ salaries are core elements of employment contracts and collective bargaining agreements. We have asked our affiliates and state councils to resist any salary deduction on the account of COVID-19,” he said.
Speaking on the International Workers Memorial Workers’ Day, the NLC president said: “It is a day to remember workers who had lost some limb, suffered an injury and other forms of severe loss while at their workplaces.”
“The theme of this year’s commemoration is “Stop the Pandemic at Work”. This is significant coming at the epoch of the global fight against the novel coronavirus disease otherwise known as Covid-19,” he said.
He said the contribution of frontline workers, especially healthcare workers, has become the only buffer between deaths in thousands and deaths in millions.
“On a day like this, we salute the uncommon love, faith, courage, and sacrifice by frontline workers who have given more than what the call of duty demands to give hope to humanity.”
Due to the outbreak of coronavirus, the federal government and many state governments have ordered lockdown to check the spread of the disease.
In applicable cases, workers now work from home. However, many businesses have also slashed workers salaries or furloughed staff due to dwindling income amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
Currently, Nigeria has 1532 confirmed cases of coronavirus. Of these, 255 have been discharged and 44 deaths have been recorded.