Organised Labour yesterday warned against continued manhandling of workers on essential duties by security operatives.
The United Labour Congress (ULC) noted that the workers cut across electricity, oil and gas, aviation sector, health sector and journalists who are in their various beats.
President of ULC, Joe Ajaero said his centre has received several complaints of continuous harassment and intimidation against their members in the hands of some overzealous security operatives while on the way to or back from their places of work while others have been beaten in the process of delivering services.
Stating that the act is unacceptable, Ajaero said without these men, there will be no electricity for the homes, fuel to run cars and generators, the airspaces will remain unmanned while hospitals both traditional and orthodox cannot remain open.
“How can we win this battle if these men are not actively supported by protecting them and compensating them for the risks they take on daily basis?” he queried.
He said the workers complained of being sidelined from the distribution of the COVID-19 relief package which they see in the news on daily basis, stating that they believe they were being punished rather than rewarded for their commitment to the battle against the pandemic.
“Congress is, therefore, worried that workers who are at the frontlines of this battle are not adequately protected not only against being infected but from violence of agents of the government who are supposed to protect them so that they can provide their services as required by all in the effort to contain the outbreak.
“Consequently, the ULC urges the government to quickly sensitise its security operatives on the need to change their attitudes towards members of the public especially those who are at work.”
The ULC president also called for urgent and proper compensation for the workers, noting that if a worker has to go out to the field at this time, it was important that adequate allowances be provided for them.
“On the basis of this, the United Labour Congress of Nigeria (ULC) calls on the Federal Government to quickly send the COVID-19 relief package to these workers who are yet to receive any,” he said.
He equally suggested the setting up of a comprehensive national COVID-19 response taskforce that would involve all the major national stakeholders in the battle against the disease.
Ajaero called for proper insurance for these workers to indemnify them against the risks that they were exposed to at this time as they go to work on daily basis.
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