The Nigeria Union of Agriculture and Allied Employees (NUAAE) has called on the Minister of Labour and Employment Chris Ngige to strengthen the labour inspectorate department in order to curb the excesses of employers in the agricultural sector.
The president of NUAAE, Comrade Simon Anchaver, made the call while addressing newsmen at the Labour House in Abuja, recently.
The union, supported by Solidarity Center AFL-CIO and the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), assured of their commitment to ensure jobs in the agricultural sector qualify for decent work and consistent with the ILO; Decent Work Agenda; as the Nigerian government moved to create a quarter of million jobs in the agro industry, farms and plantations.
Anchaver decried that workers were exposed to extreme weather which has resulted to hazardous diseases to workers such as snake bites, skin irritations and caterpillar bites during the rainy seasons.
Lack of Adequate Protective Equipment (APE) such as helmets, raincoats, hand gloves and masks expose workers to hazardous chemicals daily with no training on safe handling of hazardous substances, he added.
He however asserted that according to some findings, child labour is on the rise in some private plantations in the country.
He said, "children as young as 11 to 14 years old have been seen harvesting palm fruits and doing other farm work. "Children are trafficked from other states to carry out those jobs," he said.
He suggested that inspection by trained, well-resourced people, without influence by employees, would help increase compliance, investment and productivity.