LAGOS STREET SWEEPERS PROTEST UNPAID SALARY
CDWR Demands Regular Payment of Salary, Secured and Better Paid Employment for Lagos Street Sweepers
By Rufus Olusesan National Chair, CDWR
Many Lagos street sweepers have protested unpaid monthly salaries and poor working conditions recently. The street sweepers are employed by sub-contractors to Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) and are paid a meager N25, 000 under poor working conditions. The contract system is the same as casualization that is characterized as unfair and exploitative labour practices and it is gradually creeping into public employment.
These LAWMA contractors who are loyalists and privileged members of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) get these juicy contracts that entail employing Nigerians (mostly women) under slavery conditions. They pay a fraction of the contract fee to workers and keep the rest as profits. LAWMA contractors like Mrs. Ola Williams popularly known as Iron Lady feed fat from public funds through the exploitation of Nigerian workers. Although, Mrs. Williams and a few other contractors who were found to regularly pad the wage bills have had their contract revoked, the fraudulent contract system continues. This contract system including the ones associated with the construction of projects is designed for political patronage and has become an avenue for looting public funds.
CDWR states categorically that this contract working condition Lagos sweepers are subjected to is indecent, unfair, poor and terrible. It has been alleged that the LAWMA Contractors inflates monthly wage bills to the tune of hundreds of millions of Naira and what is baffling is that none of the contractors has been arrested and prosecuted. We condemn this contract system in strong terms.
The Campaign for Democratic and Workers’ Rights (CDWR) demands an end to contract employment and all Lagos street sweepers should be employed directly by LAWMA and to be paid on the basis of the National Minimum Wage and condition of service as other public sector workers in Lagos State. We also demand the respect of the right of the workers to be unionized in accordance with the labour law and provisions of International Labour Organisation (ILO). We challenge the Comrade Funmi Agnes Sessi-led Lagos State Council of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) to set in motion the process to organize and unionize all Lagos State street sweepers in order to ensure better protection of their rights as workers.
CDWR demands an open probe and investigation of the LAWMA contract policy by a probe panel made up of workers, representatives of the unions etc., and prosecute everybody involved in the stealing of public funds through inflation of wage bills and ghost work to serve as a deterrent to others.