Construction workers say, strike goes on

Photo: pixshark

Photo: pixshark

The National Union of Civil Engineering, Construction, Furniture and Wood Workers (NUCECFWW) has said that its members would not work in any construction site nationwide until employers increased their pay.

Mr Amechi Asugwuni, President of the union, said this at a meeting with construction workers over their ongoing strike over salary increase on Monday in Lagos.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the workers went on strike on Tuesday after various ultimatums to demand for an upward salary review as stipulated by their agreement failed.

Asugwuni said that construction workers would not return to work until their employers called for a meeting to negotiate an upward review of their salaries.

According to him, the union gave the employers time to dialogue with them to negotiate an upward review in the salaries of their members, but the employers refused.

He said that the employers refused to go to the National Joint Industrial Council (NJIC) to discuss the bi-annual review of workers’ salaries, but chose instead to write letters to the union.

“The employers ignored the ultimatum the union gave them and did not bother to even call the union for a meeting.

“We are saying that no NJIC, no work. Our members will not return to work until the few of them that are now employed are well remunerated,’’ the union president said.

He explained that the union did not protest when thousands of workers were being sacked because of the recession in the economy and that one employee was now doing the jobs of two or three persons in the sector.

He said that it was the rule to raise the salaries of construction workers every two years, stressing that this does not in any way depend on the state of the economy.

“If the employers say that government is owing them money and cannot improve on salaries, what about the gains they made in the past when the salaries did not increase,’’ he queried.

Asugwuni said that workers in about 350 construction companies in Nigeria were now on strike and until the employers returned to the negotiation table, the strike would not be called off.

He also called on the Federal, States and Local Governments to award contracts to only reputable companies with high standards, to curb incessant building collapse.

“We frown at processes where governments give jobs to people who can manipulate figures in order to reduce the quality of construction materials. This is not good. Our members are not in any way involved,’’ he said.

The union leader, therefore, urged federal, states and local governments to review their processes of awarding contracts, to ensure that only contractors with credibility are patronised, to stem incidents of building collapse.

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