We deserve social protection, support NLC strike – Informal Workers

“It is ridiculous that the most vulnerable are being excluded from basic health coverage"

NLC Strike

The Federation of Informal Workers’ Organizations of Nigeria (FIWON) says it’s in support of the warning strike directed by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and demanded minimal social protection.

Its General Secretary, Mr Gbenga Komolafe, made this known in a statement on Tuesday,  following the union’s National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting held on Sept. 4.

Komolafe said the NEC observed that Nigerian working people had been faced with extraordinary challenges since the outbreak of COVID-19, very chaotic and destructive lock downs, and supposed mitigation actions of government.

He said, therefore, that the NEC decided to fully and wholly support the NLC demands for an urgent wage review to reflect present day realities.

“This include rapid and immediate introduction of CNG to facilitate CNG powered vehicles as an alternative to premium motor spirit.

“This is still being imported and has become unaffordable as well as immediate payment of salary arrears of Academic Staff Union of Universities members, being withheld by the Federal Government.

“Immediate implementation of free health coverage for children under five years old; pregnant women and elders, 60 years and above: as it is, these categories of Nigerians are excluded from the Basic Health plans of most HMOs.

“It is ridiculous that the most vulnerable are being excluded from basic health coverage, “ he said.

The general secretary called for a review of the Micro Pensions Plan for informal sector to ensure government part funding of informal workers pension contribution, which would in the long run, protect informal workers at old age.

He also called for the immediate reversal of the introduction of school fees in public schools, colleges and universities.

Komolafe said: “Children of the working poor are already dropping out of schools in the wake of recent spikes in school fees.

“Also, we want the immediate introduction of social pension to the most vulnerable, especially old people, the infirm and the long term unemployed.

“It is our conviction that only a minimal social protection package as above can help resolve the pervasive crisis of social insecurity, growing social anomie.

“Also, desperation among the down trodden mass of working people in the informal sector. “