Dig­ni­fied work? Stupid!

Daily Trust - - BUSINESS -

In the age of “easy money mak­ing” bru­tal ad­ven­tures through, rentseek­ing, whole­some loot­ing of pub­lic wealth, kid­nap­ping and to­tal state cap­ture, com­bined with hate speeches and idle talks about “re­struc­tur­ing”, pro­duc­tiv­ity dis­course in par­tic­u­lar and dig­ni­fied work in gen­eral prove a tall or­der. In­deed it is stupid, to talk of pro­duc­tion, when La­gos state the largest com­mer­cial city could be shut down for more than 8 hours for a lo­cal gov­ern­ment elec­tion with pre­dictable re­sults! North Kore­ans, we envy in to­tal­i­tar­i­an­ism at least do work dur­ing their “elec­tions”! But lest we for­get; sec­tion 23 of Chap­ter II of the most vil­i­fied 1999 con­sti­tu­tion sin­gled out dig­nity of labour as one of the crit­i­cal na­tional ethics. Other vi­tal con­sti­tu­tion­ally fa­vored ethics are pa­tri­o­tism, dis­ci­pline, self-re­liance, so­cial jus­tice, re­li­gious tol­er­ance and in­tegrity.

Many thanks to the World Fed­er­a­tion of Trade Unions (WFTU) which at its re­cently con­cluded 3rd Pan-African Con­fer­ence in Abuja brought to the fore, the crit­i­cal is­sue of dig­ni­fied work in a con­ti­nent of al­most a bil­lion peo­ple, twice out per­formed in pro­duc­tiv­ity by Bel­gium (less than 10 mil­lion peo­ple).

Un­doubt­edly, Almighty God is a Worker from the be­gin­ning un­til eternity to mirac­u­lously keep our earth space­ship on its or­bit. Is­lam calls us to be re­spon­si­ble to our com­mu­nity and to work hard to pro­vide ben­e­fit to others, rather than re­ly­ing upon beg­ging for char­ity. A Ha­dith has it that; “By him in whose hand is my soul, if one of you were to carry a bun­dle of fire­wood on his back and sell it, that would be bet­ter for him than beg­ging a man who may or may not give him any­thing”. Sahih Bukhari 1401. We are told that “Pro­vid­ing char­ity for others is far bet­ter than re­ceiv­ing char­ity your­self.” All Prophets of Al­lah were the best ex­am­ples of self-suf­fi­ciency, hard work, and re­spon­si­bil­ity NOT COR­RUP­TION.

For ex­am­ple, the Prophet Dauda (David) would never eat a meal un­less he earned it him­self! Prophet Muham­mad (pbh) would also serve him­self and per­form chores for his fam­ily, rather than hav­ing others work for him. There are work­ers to­tal­ing some hun­dreds of mil­lions in the world to­day out of world pop­u­la­tion of 7.5 bil­lion in April, 2017. The United Na­tions es­ti­mates that world pop­u­la­tion will fur­ther in­crease to 11.2 bil­lion in the year 2100. How many would be work­ers? Over the last five years, Africa has seen the high­est rate of pop­u­la­tion growth at about 2.5% an­nu­ally and by 2050 a quar­ter of the world’s pop­u­la­tion will be on the con­ti­nent. By 2050 ten of the youngest coun­tries in the world will be found on the con­ti­nent.

While the work­ing age pop­u­la­tion in Africa grows at 2.6% an­nu­ally cre­at­ing 96 mil­lion work­ing-age peo­ple only 63 mil­lion jobs are cre­ated. There are 10 to 12 mil­lion young peo­ple en­ter­ing the job mar­ket an­nu­ally. But they are faced with a pri­vate sec­tor that is too small to ab­sorb them. The found­ing Congress of WFTU en­vis­aged de­cent/ dig­ni­fied work and de­cent life for work­ing men and women. The found­ing ob­jec­tive drew in­spi­ra­tion form the U.N. Char­ter adopted in San Fran­cisco on 26 June 1945 which em­pha­sizes the dig­nity of hu­man be­ings.

De­cent work must guar­an­tee min­i­mum and liv­ing wages for the work­ers - wages that are paid as at when and due. De­cent work means work that is se­cured and done by free work­ers who are en­ti­tled to form trade unions and en­gage in col­lec­tive bar­gain­ing to pro­tect their rights in the world of work. De­cent work de­liv­ers a fair in­come, se­cu­rity in the work­place and so­cial pro­tec­tion for fam­i­lies, bet­ter prospects for per­sonal devel­op­ment and so­cial in­te­gra­tion.

In Nige­ria, there is a seem­ing end of work, no thanks to fac­tory clo­sures, pub­lic sec­tor down­siz­ing and low pro­duc­tiv­ity caused also by cri­sis of com­pen­sa­tion. There is a dan­ger­ous un­ac­cept­able de­layed, non-pay­ment of salaries of work­ers of up to 11 months in some states. Gov­er­nor Ya­haya Bello of Kogi State re­cently au­da­ciously even il­le­gally de­clared univer­sity union il­le­gal even as he il­le­gally owes teach­ing work­ers’ salaries. De­layed and non-pay­ment of salaries is wage theft which should be treated as eco­nomic crime. Work­ers have the right to make un­govern­able and un­man­age­able com­pa­nies and states that are de­fault­ing on wage pay­ment while most gov­er­nors ex­hibit ex­pen­sive gov­er­nance life styles or­ga­niz­ing states wed­dings for their chil­dren and pay­ing two terms pre­de­ces­sors’ huge un­de­served pen­sions.

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