The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, has been urged to inaugurate the board of Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) to curb corruption and protecdt workers’ benefits.
Mrs Oyinkan Olasanoye, the President, Association of Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions (ASSBIFI), made the appeal on Tuesday in Lagos at an interactive session with the Labour Writers Association of Nigeria (LAWAN).
The session is part of activities marking ASSBIFI’s 40th anniversary.
Olasanoye said the union was being pressured to embark on industrial action to press home its demand concerning NSITF but it opted for negotiations and dialogue instead.
According to her, strike by banks will affect the nation’s economy negatively.
We believe in collective bargaining and will not allow anything to becloud our judgment because workers benefits are being entrusted to NSITF, she stressed.
ASBIFFI president restated the union’s resolve not to allow NSITF to die.
“We appeal to the minister like we have been appealing that there should be a board in NSITF.
“The Act that put NSITF in place states that there should be a board and the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Labour should represent the minister.
“So if there had been a permanent secretary, and a board had been put in place, and the minister should not say there are corrupt practices in the organisation when he has a representative there.
“We do not think that it is now that he is refusing to inaugurate the board that there will be no be corrupt practices there. We feel the more people are there, the better.’’
Olasanoye urged journalists not to relent in their efforts at promoting industrial harmony in the country and step up advocacy on workers welfare.
“That ASSBIFI is 40 years is not the big deal; but what ASSBIFI has been able to achieve in this turbulent and capitalist ridden economy is the big deal.
“I am proud to say that ASSBIFI has come of age as we have a robust and intimidating image within the shores of the nation and in the Diaspora.
“We have demonstrated unprecedented integrity in the course of protecting the interest and welfare of our members,” she said.
Olasanoye appealed to the National Assembly to amend the Labour Act to “arrest ugly consequences of casualisation of workers” in the country which, she noted, might encourage corruption.
She said the union had negotiated with banks that laid off their staff to ensure that the workers got their severance packages.