Unions protest mass sacking at Lagos Water Corporation

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The Amalgamated Union of Public Corporation, Civil Service, Technical and Recreational Service Employees, on Wednesday, protested against the sacking of 391 employees of the Lagos State Water Corporation.

Several demonstrators marched from Ikeja Under-bridge to the state House of Assembly, Alausa to express their outrage over the layoffs.

The protesters lamented that this was coming amid the economic hardship faced by many Nigerians.

The workers were joined by other unions, such as the Senior Staff Association of Statutory Corporations and Government-Owned Companies.

The protesters were armed with placards bearing inscriptions, such as “Sanwo-Olu, go after contractors, leave staff alone,” “Respect the constitution” “Do not scapegoat us over the corruption of water corporation management,” among others.

The LWC reportedly disengaged the workers on April 15, 2024, saying it was part of its ongoing restructuring efforts to enhance operational efficiency and meet the evolving demands of the organisation.

But the unions affected by the sacking contended that the move violated Section 20 of the Labour Act, requiring an employer to notify the trade union or workers’ representative of the reasons for and the extent of the redundancy before terminating the employment of its staff on account of redundancy.

Speaking with journalists on Tuesday night, the Lagos State Secretary of the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives, Oloruntoba Odumosu, said the association had petitioned the Head of Service in the state on May 3, 2024, asking that the sacked workers be recalled.

“A meeting was held today (Tuesday), not in response to the letter, but they acknowledged receipt of it. They said no going back. They even went ahead to pay the five-month redundancy payment.”

Speaking during the protest on Wednesday, the National Coordinator, Take It Back Movement, Juwon Sanyaolu, who joined the workers in the protest, demanded the reversal of the sacking.

“We are joining the workers in the protest because what happened was an unjust dismissal. The governments, led by President Bola Tinubu at the federal level and Babajide Sanwo-Olu at the Lagos State level, are treating Nigerians, especially these helpless workers, with levity,” Sanyaolu said.

When contacted, the spokesperson for the LWC, Kehinde Fashola, said, “Only the Managing Director can speak on the matter.”