The Youth Rights Campaign (YRC) has demanded increase in the pay of N-Power volunteers as well as improvement in their working conditions. The group advocated that “This should start with increasing the monthly allowance of the volunteers from the current N30, 000 and the regularization of their employment unlike the temporary and volunteering nature of the scheme.”
The Youth Rights Campaign (YRC) – a platform of the Education Rights Campaign (ERC) that focuses on promoting and defending the rights of young people to full employment, decent jobs and living wage, the group contended that without improving the pay and working conditions of the N-Power volunteers, the scheme stands the risk of ending up as a charade without contributing meaningfully to addressing the problem of unemployment and deepening poverty, both of which are conditions predominant among the vast youth population of the country.
Wole Olubanjin, Protem National Coordinator, and Daniel Fidelis, Protem National Secretary, of YRC, in a statement on Friday, observed that as it is currently packaged; the N-power scheme amounts to no more than casual labour, adding that, It is like the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) extended by an additional year.
They lamented that the workers, fraudulently named volunteers, are placed on low pay without due cognizance of the National Minimum Wage law, condition of service and right to belong to trade union. It is a temporary employment subject to termination after two years. This in gross violation of the extant provisions of the labour law, conventions of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and other international instruments to which Nigeria is a signatory which prohibits casualization and prescribes the regularization of unemployment with clearly defined conditions of service.
“We, hereby, call on the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the United Labour Congress (ULC) as well as youth organisations to take this matter up with the federal government by organizing a national campaign involving mass demonstrations to begin to demand the stoppage of casualisation of N-Power volunteers and the regularization of their employment in accordance with the provisions of the labour laws. The labour movement and youth organisations must insist that what is needed to address the youth unemployment crisis is not another variant of the National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) but real and decent jobs that come with living wage, condition of service and rights to join trade union,” they declared.