The Good Message from London – And Action Time for Abuja

The Good Message from London – And Action Time for Abuja

Uber will begin to classify its UK-based drivers as employees, making them eligible for those benefits regular employees get. This is a good move because the whole notion that two people will be doing the same thing, and one classified as regular and another independent, for payment, seems evidently not balanced. I recall those days in the bank when I was put to manage dozens of drivers, mailmen, Head Office receptionists, etc, in the bank’s Admin unit.

Nearly all of them were on contract but they were working even harder than me. What was my qualification: a degree from a university. For most, they had OND, HND of WASC. I was not sure I was better, but my paper certificate gave me so much power over some who had been on the job before I bought my JAMB university entrance form.

Uber has announced that it was classifying all of its 70,000 U.K.-based drivers as employees, making them eligible for benefits like holidays, pensions and a minimum wage. The move comes just weeks after losing a major legal battle that saw a group of drivers designated as employees. It’s a blow to the company which has fought legal and political battles around the globe to keep its drivers classified as independent contractors rather than employees, including a recent successful campaign in California.

Capitalism sinned against humanity on the invention of those classifications. I think we need to commend the UK government for standing up for its citizens. Uber will not collapse because of paying people living wages. In short the CEO praised the move, noting “we are turning a page on driver rights”. What would happen is this: men in yachts will not receive unnecessary extra money. The retail investors in Uber certainly understand that men and women deserve to be paid living wages.

Bringing it back to Nigeria, the Nigerian Labour Congress and the government must fix that loophole: it is inhuman and degrading when people are not paid the same for equal work. We are learning that title should not matter. Yes, it is work done that matters. Elon Musk, Tesla CEO, now wants to go with “Technoking of Tesla” while his CFO would be “Master of Coin”. To make it home, they filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission on these new names. 

Ask him, provided they are doing the same job, I do not expect their compensations to drop. The same thing should happen in Nigeria whether a role has a contract or not, embedded on it!

Tesla Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk and Chief Financial Officer Zach Kirkhorn are shaking things up. The two will stay in their roles but the company informed the Security and Exchange Commission that they’ll adopt the titles of “Technoking of Tesla” and “Master of Coin,” respectively. The Wall Street Journal reports that the monikers may have something to do with Tesla’s interest in cryptocurrency. The company said this year that it had invested $1.5 billion in bitcoin and planned to accept it as a form of currency.

I am hoping that Nigeria redesigns its labour laws as we see amalgam of technology companies become extremely dominant, distorting the ordinance of labour. Stripe, a US payment company which bought Nigeria’s Paystack is now worth $95 billion, making it America’s most valued startup. 

Airbnb is valued at $123 billion and gaming start-up Roblox at $45 billion and these firms are extremely young! Flutterwave is a $1 billion pop. Across the world, they are growing. We want them to grow with men and women who make them special.


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One thought on “The Good Message from London – And Action Time for Abuja

  1. I don’t know if making Uber drivers employees favour the drivers, because it could change the level of flexibility some of them enjoy, when you become a regular employee you lose certain ‘freedom’. Again, drivers here choose when to go ‘offline’, while still making money from the passenger, I don’t know how you can capture that when he/she becomes an employee, because a fixed salary is now involved.

    As for Nigeria and contract staff epidemic, it’s not really anchored on anything, other than few greedy men and women who want to keep others perpetually poor and subservient; we have lots of mean creatures here.

    Our leading bank here recruits people as staff, then created a recruitment firm where it uses to recruits ‘contract staff’, and it just announced a profit that could cause convulsion on a kid; it’s a common practice across board.

    Some will employ you, once you enter the premises, you are kidnapped for another twelve hours, you cannot go out, not that they pay well; after all your mates are still searching for jobs…

    What needs fixing in Nigeria are too many, but the people that should fix them need fixing too, so it’s really a hopeless situation at the moment, until we find a way to break the deadlock.


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