March 9, 2024

Approve salaries commensurate with cost of living — NLC tells govt

Minimum Wage: No strike tomorrow, says Labour

Joe Ajaero, NLC President

By Johnbosco Agbakwuru, Abuja

The Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, has called on the government to approve a new minimum wage that is commensurate with the cost of living in the country.

While insisting on a living wage for workers in the country, the NLC President, Comrade Joe Ajaero, in his speech at the 11th Quadrennial Delegates Conference of the Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria in Abuja, asked the Federal Government to allow salaries and wages to be commensurate with the cost of living.

This is as the Acting National President of the Medical and Health Workers Union, MHWU, Comrade Kabiru Minjibir, declared that anarchy was looming in the country if nothing was done urgently to tackle the present hardship.
Recall that the NLC, had on Thursday, presented N709, 000 for consideration as the new national minimum wage at the public hearing for the North Central. The Trade Union Congress, TUC, on the other hand presented N447,000 as its proposal for consideration as the new national minimum wage.

The current minimum wage of N30, 000 passed into law by former President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration would expire in April this year. Ajaero lamented that workers have been reduced to beggars because of the economic hardship in the country.

He said: “Food has become so scarce that Nigerians have become scavengers and resorting to raiding food trucks and warehouses for food. If those in government cannot see the danger in what is happening, we see it and must ensure that government fulfils its duties to the people.

“We are increasingly going hungry in our father’s land and cannot continue in this destitution. The greatest unifyer and mobiliser of a people is hunger, so it is common when those in government to assume that somebody is sponsoring people who are protesting because of hunger. If anybody is arousing the people, it is those in government whose policies have impoverished the people and stripped them of those values that make them human beings.

“The looting of Food trucks and warehouses is what you get when this happens. Unless something is done, this may unfortunately escalate. We pray it does not. Those who therefore think that they can stop us from this divine mission with their threats and violence should think twice. We cannot be cowed. We cannot surrender our natural mandate to powers and agents of poverty and emasculation. We are not after anybody’s job but we must insist that the instruments of governance must be used for the greater good of the people and not to wreck their lives.
“We must insist that any political calculation that does not put the lives of Nigerians first fails abysmally and is totally unacceptable. The people of Nigeria must have to survive first so that Nigeria can survive before we begin to talk about 2027.

“We must all work together to build power which we can use for successful engagement with those who are in charge of power in our dear nation. Nigerians look up to us and we must not fail them. We in the NLC, which include your Ag. President and Deputy President of Congress; Comrade Ado Sani Minjibir will always court and cherish your support to build the necessary structures that will make the NLC stronger to challenge the vicissitudes of the nation’s current socioeconomic realities.”

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha said the government was committed to providing affordable healthcare for Nigerians. Onyejeocha, who was represented by the Director, Trade Union Services and Industrial Relations, Yusuf Mohammed also said the government was committed to providing better welfare packages for health workers.

Acting National President, Medical and Health Workers Union, Kabiru Minjibir said the removal of fuel subsidy has “unleashed hardship on Nigerians.” Minjibir noted that “anarchy may be looming if nothing practical is urgently done.”