“This, sadly, affects the entire masses who rely on the services which those workers provide,” the Local Ordinary of Oyo Diocese who doubles as the President of the Pan African Episcopal Committee for Social Communications (CEPACS), an entity of the Symposium of Episcopal Conference of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM), says about the insensitivity of the government to workers’ plight.
In his considered view, “Only a just relationship driven by dialogue and sensitivity can guarantee an escape from the quagmire of resentment and suspicion which currently characterizes the relationship between employees and employers in the country.”
“With the imminent dispensation, employees and employers must embrace a new regime of merit and rebuild the crumbling labor fortress,” the Nigerian Catholic Bishop who was appointed member of the Vatican Dicastery for Communications in December 2021 says.
Celebrated every year on May 1 since 1890 in over 80 countries, Labor Day celebrates the “contributions of workers, promote their rights, and commemorate the labor movement.”
Reflecting on this year’s celebration, Bishop Badejo says, “Work is one indispensable resource by which God made man and by which man sustains the world.”
“We are told that after all the work, God saw that what he had done was good. For this reason, we know that there is dignity in work and work is really love made visible. It is thus befitting to congratulate workers on this day to congratulate all who provide work and do same to all who provide the conducive environment in which work can be done,” he says.
Important and fundamental though work is, the Nigerian Catholic Bishop says that he finds it regrettable that “too many factors deny millions of workers of the joy and fulfillment which they should derive from the work they do.”
“Regrettably today, conflicts, discrimination, unjust structures, scarcity of jobs, bad management and greed hamper the integral human development that work ought to bring to individuals, family and the society. This, to say the least, is unfortunate and deserves urgent attention,” he says.
The 61-year-old Nigerian Bishop who started his Episcopal Ministry in October 2007 as Coadjutor Bishop of Oyo Diocese adds, “Integral human development, the ideal of all humanity, will remain a mirage if contentious issues concerning work are not resolved.”
“The Catholic Church teaches that just wages are a legitimate fruit of work. It can be grave injustice to withhold or refuse it,” Bishop Badejo says, and continues, “Remuneration for work should guarantee man the opportunity to provide a dignified livelihood for himself and his family on the material, social and cultural levels.”