The two unions in the nation’s construction industry, National Union of Civil Engineering Construction, Furniture and Wood Workers, NUCECFWW, and Construction and Civil Engineering Senior Staff Association, CCESSA, weekend in Lagos.
No fewer than 100,000 workers have been sacked by Multi-National Corporations, MNCs, and indigenous contractors over government refusal to pay for completed and certified projects in the last one year.
At a joint briefing, the two unions claimed that not less than N100 billion debt remained unpaid to these contractors by both Federal and state governments, and appealed to government to release money to these contractors to save the industry and suffering workers.
Speaking on behalf of the two unions, President of CCESA, Dr. Augustine Etafo, said as part of the plans to attract the attention of government to the plight of the workers, the union would hold a peaceful protest rally in Abuja, where all the construction sites would be shut down for a day.
According to him, “governments at various levels have not been honouring the agreements on contracts by refusing to pay for contracts that had already been executed and certified complete. As we speak now, governments owe contractors over N100 billion. Consequently, capital projects are disrupted and contractors have moved out of sites for lack of funds”.
Governments have also reneged on payment for cash backing projects. This is democracy and if the political leaders are sincere to deliver to the people who voted them into powers the dividends of democracy, then they must be ready to settle all financial obligations on capital projects that have been executed and certified complete. These projects border on infrastructures, which form the bedrock of any development of any nation.”
“The implication of this is the attendant job losses and in the last one year, about 100,000 workers have been severed from their jobs. Most of these workers were sent home by their employers without any benefits because of the debts owed them by Governments.
The job losses can also be linked with the high crime wave and insecurity in the country, as the saying goes that ‘An idle hand is devil’s workshop’. This has compounded our security problems, and we know that a country that has security challenges are not investor’s first option to put down their money.