Senate yesterday, considered a bill seeking to stop employers in the private and public sectors from engaging employable Nigerian graduates as casual workers.
Sponsor of the piece of legislation to that effect, “The Prohibition of Casualization Bill 2020”, Senator Ayo Akinyelure (PDP Ondo Central), said in his debate that “casualization of Nigerian graduates in the Nigerian labour market has become a subject of great concern as more workers continue to groan under this immoral strategy of cutting cost by employers rendering them inferior to their counterpart in other countries of the world.”
According to him, “Statistics from the Nigeria Labour Congress shows that many workers in the telecommunications, oil and gas sectors are engaged as casual labourers by employers of labours.
“Other sectors with thousands of casual labourers include mining, steel, banking and insurance.
“In all these sectors, staff outsourcing and casualization have become the order of the day as such workers no longer have regularised employment terms and, therefore, Nigerian graduates are treated as second class citizens in their own country of origin while foreigners from underdeveloped Countries from Asian, Indian, Pakistan, Lebanon with less qualification to Nigerian graduates are placed as managers above Nigerian graduates in many Private and even Government establishments in Nigeria.”
Akinyelure raised alarm that the scourge of casualization of employment in Nigeria is gaining grounds in an unprecedented proportion, intensity and scale.
Contributing, Senator Biodun Olujimi (PDP Ekiti South), while re-echoing Akinyelure’s observation said, “Our girls have been turned into what we cannot imagine. Most of them have been asked to look for funds, and when coming us, I always tell them, I do not even have the funds to eat, how can I have funds to keep with you in the bank?
“And they will never be promoted if they don’t bring in such funds, and this is a banking industry that is privately owned, yes but has made so much profit, and from the profit, they could at least take the few that they can manage properly, rather than take a lot that they will be giving pittance.”
The lawmaker, therefore, harped on the need to have a legal framework to ensure that casualization does not exist.
“If you must take workers, take the number you can on proper emoluments,” she said.
On his part, Senator Ajibola Basiru (APC, Osun Central) while citing the position of the Supreme Court – which gives employers the power to hire and fire – called for caution in the way the bill is tweaked, adding that the National Assembly “must make a distinction in making the prohibition between employment in the public sector and employment in the private sector.”
The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, in his remarks charged the Committee on Employment, Labour and Productivity to strike a balance in the bill to ensure that casual workers in the country are not made victims of layoffs.
“The fact remains that we need employment for our people, especially our teeming youth on one hand. On the other hand, we don’t want discrimination.
“If we say no casualization at all, some of our people could be victims of layoffs, and, of course, we know what casualization brings. You don’t have any entitlements outside of what you’re given immediately,” he said.
The bill after scaling the second reading was referred by the Senate President to the Committee on Employment, Labour and Productivity to report back within four weeks.
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