Workers across the world under the umbrella of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) yesterday in Geneva, Switzerland held a protest to decry what they described as poor social protection for workers.
President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) who is also the president of the ITUC, Ayuba Wabba who led the protest said it was targeted at drawing the attention of over 40 world leaders attending this year’s International Labour Conference (ILC)
He was joined during the protest by Labour leaders from Nigeria which includes NULGE president, Ibrahim Khaleel, NAAT president, Sani Suleiman, as well as labour leaders from the United States of America, South Africa, among others.
Speaking during the protest, Wabba said workers are demanding a new social contract, that will address the issue of inequality and poverty around the world.
He said despite the fact that the global economy have more than triple, wealth is being concentrated in the hands of a few and therefore the majority are in poverty.
He said, “Workers are working yet they have nothing to show or to take care of their families.
“We have seen in all countries of the world there is an issue of increased militarization, where budgeting for military is increasing and social spending is reducing.
“We believed that the foundation of ILO is to address the fact that poverty and inequality anywhere is a threat to prosperity and therefore we thought we need to make the point here and also other issues.”
Wabba said workers deserved to be treated with dignity because they create the wealth of the world.
He said, “So going forward is to demand for a new social contract that will guarantee universal workers right that will guarantee strikes, that would guarantee freedom of association, that will guarantee rights to collective bargain, that would guarantee social protection.
“As we speak today over one hundred billion people around the world do not have social protection, they don’t have pension and they do not have any means of social protection. So when they get aged, they become a liability to the society.
“This is where we are and that is why we think that it was important to bring workers around the world, from all the countries I have mentioned to come and here this views so that our leaders listen to those views so that they can go back home and try to do some amends.
Also speaking, Ms Cathy Feingold, Director, International Department of AFL-CIO, America’s Union and Deputy President ITUC said workers issues globally are all the same.
She said workers are demanding a new social contract from governments, employers of labour of the world.
She said, “From Nigeria to the United states we are united with workers all over the world and we are here for the same issues. So from Nigeria to the United States workers are facing the same challenges, precarious work, the failure of having a vibrant social contract
“We are hereto here to say we are going to reinvigorate that social contract so that all workers have right and dignity, have social protection.”
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