COVID-19: Oyo NLC  Inaugurates Labour Committee To Prevent Job Losses 

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Barr. SHarafadeen Abiodun
Following the recent efforts by some organisations to lay-off some of their workers as a result of the poor economic condition occasioned by coronavirus pandemic, the Oyo State’s chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on Friday inaugurated a 12-man Labour/Civil Society Situation Room to guide against such development.
The state NLC Chairman, Comrade Adebayo Titilola-Sodo,  while inaugurating the body at the NLC Secretariat, Ibadan , said the body would provide advisory services to the government  on the best economic approach towards gradual and systematic opening up of the economy of the state.
A statement issued by the state of the union Titilola Sodo who doubled as the chairman of the group indicated that Comrade Femi Aborisade from the Civil Society became the vice-chairman, and the Secretary of NLC in Oyo State, Comrade Ibrahim Mohammed is its secretary.
Members of the team were drawn from the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Trade Union Congress (TUC), Civil Society Organisations (CSO), Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT),  Nigerian Medical Associate [NMA],Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigerian (MHUWUN) and National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM).
Others are Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU), Nigeria Union of Air Transport Employees(NUATE), National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Amalgamated Union of Foodstuff and Cattle Dealers Associations (AUFCDA) and Civil Society organizations.
While inaugurating the situation room, Titilola-Sodo disclosed that the step was a response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, necessitating the setting up of the  Labour-Civil Society Situation Room by the national leadership of the NLC.
The Coordinnating Chairperson  said: “The Situation Room will serve as an engine room for information dissemination and sensitization of workers and citizens on COVID-19 reality, prevalence, prevention and containment measures.
“To protect jobs, wages and means of livelihood of Nigerians and serve as a think-tank to liaise and advise government on the strategy going forward.
“To embark on advocacy and social dialogue with government and private sector employers to promote public health and employment/income protection for workers. It will also partner with all relevant stakeholders in the state in order to enable it achieve its set objectives.
“To maintain surveillance on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the workforce and adopt appropriate positions.
“To support workers who are in the front line of the COVID-19 with information and occupational safety kits. To maintain a feedback relationship between workers , workers’ organizations,government and employers in the private sector.
”To protect jobs,wages and means of livelihood of Nigerians. To engage the government on how to gradually and systemically open up the economy for business and production.
“To support effective control and protective measures against further spread and fatalities of the novel coronavirus disease and serve as think tank to liaise and advise government on the strategy going forward.
NLC chairman who said that the body would lubricate its feedback relationship with workers, their unions, government and employers in the private sector, appealed to all and sundry to join hands together to achieve the desired target.
Setting the direction for the situation room, Comrade Aborisade emphasized that the body must speak to the fact by ensuring that the interest of members and workers in Oyo State are defended.
Aborisade pointed out that in reality,everyone faces greater risks of COVID-19 ,not just the nurses and health workers who are front-line workers.
The human right lawyer stressed that the unity of all  members is required to achieve the objectives of the situation room.
Secretary of the situation room, Comrade Mohammed stressed the need for optimum publicity for the group to achieve its objectives.
Other unionists who bared their minds on how the group would attain its objectives  included Comrade Demola Babalola, Comrade Kayode Gbenga and Comrade Olubunmi Folorunso.

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