TIMOTHY AGBOR, OSOGBO
The Bishop, Catholic Diocese of Oyo, Most Rev Emmanuel Badejo has bemoaned the condition of most Nigerian workers describing it as pathetic.
He advocated for a serious and urgent overhauling of the working condition of the public and private sectors.
In his message entitled: “May 1: Awaiting a Happier Workers’ Day,” to mark this year’s Workers’ Day, Bishop Badejo said the nation wouldn’t experience peace and development if workers are not properly remunerated and better working condition created for them.
Notwithstanding the challenges highlighted, the cleric called on employers and employees to embrace what he described as “a new regime of merit” and rebuild the crumbling labour fortress, adding that a just relationship characterised by dialogue and sensitivity can “guarantee an escape from the quagmire of resentment and suspicion which currently characterizes the relationship between employees and employers in the country.”
He said, “Workers’ Day, May 1st every year all over the world, necessary calls for an evaluation of work, workers and working conditions all around the world. This is because work is one indispensable resource by which God made man and by which man sustains the world. Remuneration for Work should guarantee man the opportunity to provide a dignified livelihood for himself and his family on the material, social and cultural levels.
“Governments and people cannot honestly desire peace or authentic development without ensuring just wages for work done. Exploitation of others or their resources, forcing down prices of raw materials, inhospitable conditions of work, unjustly taking over the property belonging to others or the like, impugn human dignity, damage social trust and offend the moral law of God.
“In Nigeria, the condition of most workers remains pathetic. Government insensitivity to the plight and demands of workers like doctors, nurses, teachers, journalists, and security agencies is nothing short of cruel, especially when compared to politicians’ remunerations. This, sadly affects the entire masses who rely on the services which those workers provide. In fact, working conditions in both the public and private sectors yearn for serious and urgent overhauling. Nigeria, so to speak, needs a moral blood transfusion.
“Nevertheless, with the imminent dispensation, employers and employees must embrace a new “regime of merit” and rebuild the crumbling labour fortress. Only a just relationship driven by dialogue and sensitivity can guarantee an escape from the quagmire of resentment and suspicion which currently characterizes the relationship between employees and employers in the country. With that new hope it is still pertinent even today to say to all: Happy Workers Day with wishes for a brighter future!” Badejo concluded.