Things are tough. Only tough people and organizations can get ashore without scars. Organizations are struggling to stay afloat. Many have emplaced self preservation strategies to survive. Innit we have had jobs and salary cuts. Many organizations carry on as if the only thing that matters is productivity. Carrying on with mentally battered workforce could add to the woes of the organisations. Productivity can only be possible when you care for your workers, and caring for your workers is not only throwing money at them. A At the other end of the continuum, the unions carry on as if the pre-Covid-19 economic environment is still the same.

No doubt Nigerian workers, especially our untiring healthcare workers need accolades and motivations in the face of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

In the face of the new normal and realities, we know, even if unacknowledged that in some cities, workers virtually sleep and wake up in traffic gridlocks. The stress on the road and inability to properly care for families could be mentally exasperating. With the increasing mental stress, worries, uncertainties, increasing home-based violence, workers hardly have who they can approach to vent. Many of our workplaces are not carved out to have counsellors, employees’ assistance programs, HR experts, therapists, etc., which COVID-19 has also taken away from the organizations that had them in place.

In contrast, advanced nations are more worried about the inability of their workers to access face-to- face sessions with counsellors, employees’ assistance programs, HR experts, therapists, etc.They know that only the mentally fit, can help boost productivity. No wonder, great nations paid huge sums in defraying cost of rents, in lieu of salaries, and other succour giving welfare benefits.

In times like this, workplace engagement strategies should shift from the  traditional approaches to the kola-out-of-the-pocket moral suasion tactics. The deployment of situational leadership on both sides of the aisle has become incumbent. Our communication strategies must improve through virtual and other approved channels. The stakeholderd must find smart ways of improving social-welfare benefits without the traditional focus on naira and kobo.

Now that we are in a new normal, I do hope that the social dialogue partners shall think through emplacing nrw policies, which would strengthen the dialogue process. Physical distancing and other COVID-19 protocols have not come to supplant, and or kill the collective bargaining process but to complement it. 

Grace and peace!!!

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