Unemployment: NUFBTE president cautions FG over technology influx


***says NLC’ll act appropriately on electricity, fuel price hike

The National President of National Union of Food Beverage & Tobacco Employees (NUFBTE), Comrade Lateef Oyelekan, has

called on the Federal Government to be wary of modern technology that has the capacity to deepen unemployment in the country.

Addressing the media during the week, Oyelekan, also faulted reports of factionalisation in the union.

Expressing worries over the power of Artificial Intelligence on employment, he reminded the Federal Government that Nigeria was still a developing country where more people still need to keep their jobs rather than allowing technology to displace them.

While advising the Federal Government not to embrace AI as it is being done in most developed climes, he also lamented that 60 years after independence, labour was still contending with employers over outsourcing.

He pleaded that employment threatening technology should be reduced from entering Nigeria in order to save jobs, especially because of the population.

“Ghana and some other African countries are being careful with it.

“We need to create jobs in Nigeria. Government should improve on electricity for massive job creation,” he noted.

On perceived factionalisation in the union, he made it clear that some aggrieved members who were penalized for Infractions resorted to misinforming the public with stories of conflicts, stressing that the leadership of the union was intact.

According to him, “the current members of National Administrative Council (NAC) elected on December 9, 2016 for a four-year tenure are still solidly united, save for Comrade Onoja J. Peter currently on suspension due to his gross anti-union conduct.

“In other words, 10 elected members are very united in performing their duties while five, out of six appointed members, are performing their respective duties with absolute commitment, while Comrade Bamidele Busari, General Secretary, is currently on suspension owing to his gross infraction against the constitution of our union.

“Our union is well structured and nobody can single handedly take a decision. The aggrieved single handedly used the letter head of the union to write a letter to the Minister of Labour.

Speaking on alleged tenure elongation, acting General Secretary, NUFBTE, Comrade Mike Olanrewaju, stated that the deferments of election across board for all organs of the union by two years, in other words, two years extension of the current tenure of elected officers, was a meticulous and progressive decision overwhelmingly adopted by the National Executive Council (NEC) at its annual meeting in Abuja on 4th February, 2019.

He said: “Therefore, the main motive for the deferment of elections by two years was predicated on the necessity to avoid the unhealthy incidence of animosity, bickering and unnecessary distractions usually associated with the process and conduct of elections.

“Contrary to the impression being portrayed in various media, the truth remains that the amiable and humble president was never involved in the initiative of the progressive idea of tenure extension. Rather, it was a collective decision of the union members across the country to the mutual benefit of all members.”

On alleged court injunction by the aggrieved parties, Comrade Mike Olanrewaju, posited that it is on record that no injunction was served on the union.

On the court injunction by the aggrieved members, he said: “Our doors are opened. As at today, we have not been served any court injunction. We all know that there is a process to serve such injunctions. This must be served physically or by substituted means through a competent court order.”

Speaking on the recent hike in electricity tariff and pump price of fuel, Oyelekan expressed confidence in the ability of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to handle the issue with the government on behalf of Nigerians.

He said as an affiliate of the foremost labour union, he would rather allow NLC to deal with the issue.

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