2015 Workers’ Day Address
Today we celebrate Workers’ Day, and for us in the church, we celebrate as well the memorial of St. Joseph the Worker, husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary. So may I use this opportunity and thank you all for your contributions towards the development of Caritas Nigeria(CCFN) and to wish you a happy workers’ day.
In Laborem Exercens Blessed John Paul ll said that in work, the human being expresses his/her dignity; in other words, the absence of work or the capacity to work robs one of something of his/her dignity as a human being; and we are not only talking about paid employment but an ability to apply intelligence and effort to bring about something positive. Work is always positive.
I want to thank all of you who have been conscientious in your work. Where I was trained, and how I was brought up, the environment was always free and conducive to personal initiative. Everyone was always treated as mature and responsible. This is the culture we have tried to establish at CCFN, where every staff does his/her best even if no one is standing by with a cane. I sincerely have no capacity to be a ‘headmaster’. In a country where the unemployment rate is put at 23.9%, it becomes a terrible sign of ingratitude for anyone to treat his/her job with levity.
We therefore encourage staff to examine their work attitude and confirm with their consciences whether they are giving their best to Caritas Nigeria(CCFN), and whether they are meeting with expectations. The recent audit has revealed that many staff take for granted simple procedures such as returning time-sheets on which salaries should be based ! Let me assure everyone that we shall fully implement all audit findings and encourage laid down systems to function optimally.
We shall look into any root causes where there is job disaffection and dis-satisfaction and see where the organisation is liable and make correcions, for instance conflicting job schedules or ill-defined job schedules.
Let me assure you however of our resolve to do our best to fulfil the mandate the Bishops gave to us. The Bishops entrusted us with the duty of establishing a professional organisation. Everyone recruited into CCFN was based on a belief that the person would add value. If anyone has become a liability rather than an asset please find a way to make yourself resourceful and justify the earnings you receive.
To this end we will plan sessions for supervisors to enable them be of greater use to their supervisees. A supervisor should be able to provide psycho-social support to struggling staff and wear the cap of a mentor even though mentorship request usually originates from a mentee. In otherwords an enriching relationship should be firmed up, where the supervisor gives adequate support to the supervisee. While supervisors should not become ‘Lords’, we expect that the interest of the organisation will drive performance management and appraisal of supervisees.
I implore you all to join hands with me to make the Bishops’ mandate sustainable.
Recently we had challenges with taxes. We have done our best to reduce the burden. For instance the percentage of stewardship has gone down, including welfare and we have turned 13th month to gratuity. Even then the tax burden is high, except for those who have done life insurance. As everything works together for the good of those who believe, the tax issue has given impetus to majority of staff to go into life cover. Even though our best intentions are sometimes misconstrued, I encourage everyone to make use of the opportunity, for it is by saving for the future that people prepare for the future.
Once more I wish everyone a happy workers’ day and pray that God bless the works of our hands. Amen.
Fr. Evaristus Bassey