Take It Back Movement Intervenes in AUPCTRE’s Fight Against Water Privatization, Arbitrary Sacking of 391 Workers

In a meeting yesterday, the Take It Back movement and the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporation, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE) met to discuss the troubling issues surrounding water privatization and the unjust dismissal of 391 workers in the sector.

The meeting highlighted the growing concerns of activists and union members over the potential negative impacts of water privatization on the lives of ordinary Nigerians. They fear that the increasing commercialization of water services will lead to higher prices, reduced access for vulnerable populations, and decreased accountability in the sector.

In a show of solidarity with the AUPCTRE and other trade unions, the Take It Back movement has declared that they will be present at the protest planned for Wednesday, 7am in Ikeja, with other CSOs and labor organizations, with the aim to create a unified voice calling for a reversal of the policies that threaten the rights of workers and the access of Nigerians to clean, affordable water.

In a move that has been heavily criticized by activists and labor organizations, the Lagos government announced the termination of 391 Lagos Water Corporation (LWC) employees last month. Citing ‘restructuring efforts’ aimed at increasing efficiency, the government has attempted to justify these dismissals in the face of widespread economic hardship and rising unemployment in the country.

In an attempt to justify the mass layoffs, the Lagos government has argued that the Lagos Water Corporation has been facing significant financial difficulties and struggling to generate sufficient revenue to meet its obligations.

However, critics have questioned the validity of this justification, pointing out that the government’s focus on financial efficiency and profitability in the midst of a national economic crisis comes at the cost of workers’ livelihoods. Many argue that the government’s priorities should be to prioritize the well-being of its citizens and workers, especially during difficult times.

Speaking on the devastating impact of the workers layoffs, Benjamin Anthony, President of the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporation, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE), stated that the dismissed workers are experiencing extreme distress and have even faced tragic consequences as three workers have reportedly passed away due to the situation.

Mr. Anthony emphasized the devastating effects of these layoffs, especially given the current economic hardship that many Nigerians are experiencing. He characterized the workers’ state as ‘despair and suicidal,’ highlighting the emotional and psychological toll that losing one’s job can have on individuals and families.

In addition to the moral and ethical concerns surrounding the layoffs, Benjamin Anthony also stated that the Lagos government’s actions were in violation of Nigerian labor laws.

Specifically, he pointed to Section 20 of the labor law, which mandates that employers must provide advanced notification to trade unions or workers’ representatives when terminating employees on the basis of redundancy. According to Anthony, the Lagos government failed to meet this legal requirement, further compounding the injustice and illegality of the sackings.


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