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Labour leaders’ expectations for new Minister of Labour



Two labor leaders emphasized the importance of the incoming Minister of Labour displaying empathy towards workers, especially during the current challenging economic circumstances. These sentiments were expressed separately in interviews conducted in Lagos State, just before President Bola Tinubu’s scheduled inauguration of new ministers today.

Mrs. Funmi Sessi, the Chairperson of the Lagos Chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), conveyed her optimism regarding Mr. Simon Lalong, who has been appointed to lead the Ministry of Labour and Employment. Sessi pointed out that Lalong’s past experience, including his tenure as the governor of Plateau State, bodes well for his performance in this role. She suggested that Lalong could draw from his previous experience to effectively address labor-related issues.

Sessi further conveyed her confidence in a positive future for labor relations under Lalong’s leadership. She highlighted the potential for continued amicable relationships with labor unions, drawing from the positive industrial relations he maintained during his time as a governor.

“I hope he will extend it to the labour centres in Nigeria, including Nigeria Labour Congress, all workers, not only in the public sector, but private as well; both formal and informal.

”This is necessary so that we can have the working people in Nigeria partake in the same wealth that they create; it will be a commonwealth, and that is our hope,“ she told NAN.

The labour leader said that the sector would need a minister with compassion, experience; one who was humane.

Sessi said, “Someone that will give all to ensure that he will create more ground for employment, productivity, high yield of productivity.”

Also, the Secretary, Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, Lagos State Council, Mr Aladetan Abiodun, said the new Minister for Labour would be facing an inherited tense industrial space due the fuel subsidy removal.

According to him, the removal has impacted negatively on all fixed income earners.

“I strongly believe that if this issue is not properly managed, it may snowball into full scale industrial crisis.

“It is precisely this reason that we want a minister who will hit the ground running.

“Also, we want the issue of the new minimum wage to be quickly settled; this is another area where we are going to need quick intervention.

“Furthermore, we hope under this new administration, the ministry of labour will wake up to some of its statutory responsibilities in the area of labour inspections.

“This includes bringing employers of labour who often breach their contract of agreement with employees to order, as well as ensuring that the laws of our land are respected, particularly by foreign companies who usually show utter disrespect to our labour laws,“ Aladetan said.