Lagos Waterworks Triggers Employee Distress by Dismissing 450 Workers
By Zuleihat Owuiye, Mamos Nigeria
In a recent turn of events, the Lagos State Water Corporation terminated the employment of 450 casual workers, leading to a palpable sense of anxiety among the affected employees. The sack letters were delivered on a Tuesday, accompanied by an ultimatum to surrender all government property in their possession, intensifying the distress among the workforce.
As our correspondent discovered, the abrupt decision to dismiss the workers caught even those unaffected by surprise, causing a ripple effect of fear among the remaining staff at the state waterworks. Speaking anonymously, a staff member revealed the shock and uncertainty experienced by those laid off, many of whom had dedicated several years to working for the corporation.
The impact of the layoffs extends beyond the professional realm, as highlighted by the emotional account of a friend of one affected worker. The friend, burdened with familial responsibilities, left the office in tears, underscoring the human toll of such sudden employment terminations. The plea echoed for a more considerate approach, allowing individuals adequate time to explore alternative employment opportunities.
PUNCH Metro’s investigation revealed that the layoffs were attributed to the state government’s purported restructuring initiative, despite the existing shortage of staff. This decision raises questions about the practicality of achieving restructuring goals when faced with a diminished workforce, as expressed by employees left to manage substantial responsibilities with limited manpower.
The Public Relations Officer of the Lagos State Water Corporation, Kehinde Fashola, acknowledged the layoffs, attributing them to a breach of contract agreement by some workers. Fashola emphasized that the government identified instances where contract staff had surpassed the stipulated tenure, violating the country’s labor laws that prescribe a normal contract duration of two years. The government’s intent, as stated, is to rectify these deviations without bias.
The situation paints a complex picture of organizational decisions affecting livelihoods, prompting reflections on the delicate balance between operational adjustments and the well-being of the workforce. The aftermath of these layoffs extends beyond the professional domain, intertwining with personal struggles and the broader discourse on labor practices.