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Pro-Workers’ Group  Calls For Reinstatement Of 450 Workers Sacked  By Lagos Water Corporation

Daud Olatunji

Last week, the Lagos State Water Corporation sent shockwaves through its workforce as it terminated the employment of 450 casual workers. 

The affected employees were reportedly served with termination letters on Tuesday and given a brief ultimatum to surrender all government property in their possession.

The move has been met with strong criticism from the Campaign for Democratic and Workers Rights (CDWR), labeling it as insensitive, particularly in the midst of an ongoing economic crisis.

In a joint statement issued by the National Chairperson, Comrade Rufus Olusesan, and the National Publicity Secretary, Comrade Chinedu Bosah, CDWR expressed deep concern over the mass sacking, emphasizing its potential to exacerbate the socio-economic challenges facing the affected workers.

The group vehemently condemned the action and demanded the immediate reinstatement of the dismissed employees to their full employment status, complete with all associated rights and benefits.

The CDWR called upon various stakeholders, including the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporation Civil Service and Recreational Service Employees (AUPCTRE), to engage with the Lagos State Government.

The group advocated for a united front to demand the reinstatement of the workers, suggesting the possibility of mass actions, including strikes and protests if necessary.

A report published in the Punch newspaper on December 8, 2023, shed light on the situation, revealing that many of the sacked workers had dedicated several years, some up to a decade, to their service.

The Public Relations Officer of the Corporation, Kehinde Fashola, argued that some workers had breached the two-year contract duration, justifying the mass termination.

However, CDWR dismissed this explanation, asserting that the corporation needed more workers than it presently had, as indicated by the significant reduction in maintenance staff.

The group accused the Lagos State Government of operating an exploitative contract employment system, violating labor laws and the rights of the affected workers by keeping them as casuals instead of regularizing their employment.

CDWR also criticized the government’s prioritization, highlighting its expenditure on luxury vehicles for officials while neglecting crucial social services, such as providing clean water.

CDWR expressed concern that the mass sacking might be a prelude to the government’s intended privatization of the water corporation, urging working people, labor organizations, and pro-masses groups in Lagos to reject the privatization agenda.

Instead, the group advocated for massive investment in the corporation to expand its capacity, create jobs, and deliver clean water to a larger segment of the population.

The statement concluded with a call for collective action to safeguard the rights and livelihoods of the affected workers and to ensure the prioritization of public welfare over privatization interests.

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