TUC Seeks Senior Citizen Status For Retirees

The Lagos State chapter of the Trade Union Congress has canvassed senior citizen status for retirees in the state.

This was contained in a communiqué issued at the end of a two-day workshop tagged, ‘The 21st century leadership, growth, opportunities and challenges.

The communiqué read in part, “The union wants the Lagos State Government to make a policy pronouncement that will guarantee retirees in Lagos State senior citizen status with some privileges such as free access to government medical facilities and transport system.

“This social safety net is long overdue in a city like Lagos State.”

TUC expressed concerns over the failure of the government to meet the pension expectations of retirees.

It noted that it was for this purpose that the Pension Reform Act of 2004 was established.

It stated, “It is indeed very disturbing that despite the clear provisions of the Pension Act, retirees still face a lot of challenges trying to access their entitlements, particularly gratuities as and when due.

“This no doubt has brought tears and agony to retirees and their families.”

The union therefore called on the Lagos State Government to prioritise prompt payment of pensions and gratuities.
Another issue discussed during the workshop include housing challenge.

The union noted that most workers in the state lived in dehumanising conditions due to their inability to access accommodation at reasonable cost.

It added that rent in Lagos was about 60 per cent of an average worker’s disposable income, saying that this was higher than the 20-30 per cent recommended by the United Nations.
“This pathetic situation, in terms of shelter cost in Lagos has eliminated the low-income earners from the housing market. Therefore, the union calls on the state government to provide low cost housing for workers because the current Rent-to-Own scheme of the government is far above the reach of workers,” it stated.

The union also called on government at all levels to address infrastructural deficit in the area of healthcare, affordable housing and potable water.

It urged the government to fix bad roads to ease traffic particularly in the low income areas that served as the nexus for workers.

The union urged the Inspectorate Department of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment to address the issue of occupational and health safety as well as the high risk that characterised the world of work in Lagos State.

According to TUC, the two-day workshop was organised in line with the objective of the union to ensure that leaders understood their role and responsibilities at a deeper level.

It was aimed at strengthening leaders’ involvement in both the formal and informal sectors of the economy.
To gain the trust of their members and remain relevant, leaders were advised to be strategic in thinking and proactive in their approach to doing things in view of the enormous challenges confronting trade unions in the industrial relations arena.

TUC stressed the need for peaceful negotiation among union leaders and the government, to enhance a courteous and constructive interaction that would promote an agreement, reflect the interest of parties and enhance their relationship.

It advised the Federal Government to negotiate with labour leaders in good faith, “so as to ensure that the lingering issue over the consequential adjustment of the new minimum wage is resolved in the interest of workers.”

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