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Workers insist on N30,000 Minimum Wage

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…Urges FG to Transmit Bill to NASS

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Members of the organized labour on Tuesday, made good their plans to stage mass rallies across the 36 states of the federation, including the federal capital territory, insisting that they would not renege on the N30,000 minimum wage benchmark agreed by the Ama Pepple led National Tripartite Committee.

President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Ayuba Wabba who led the protest in Abuja, warned that it was a precursor to a nationwide strike, if those in authorities fail to implement the new wage.

He also cautioned that government was testing the collective will of Nigerian workers who toil daily to sustain the economy by delaying the transmission of the executive wage bill to the National Assembly for passage.

According to the union, the voting pattern of workers in the 2019 general elections may be skewed in favour of timely implementation of the minimum wage, hence the political class should be weary.

Daybreak correspondent observed some of the protesters carrying placard with inscriptions, such as “minimum wage is not negotiable, it is our right”, ” give us our new minimum wage now”, “upward review of minimum wage will not trigger inflation”.

Others were, “minimum wage is willingness to pay and not ability to pay”, “minimum age will boost Nigeria’s economy” and among others

The protest temporarily disrupted vehicular movement at the Federal Capital Development Authorities (FCDA) premises where the protesters took a letter regarding their demands.

Wabba, while presenting the letter, argued that Nigerian workers were poor because they can’t boast of a reasonable wage like their South African or Ghanaian counterpart.

He wondered why government officials consider workers as a tiny minority when they constitute the bulk of the citizens who fight for the sustenance of democracy.

Wabba said, “The rally or protest serves as a warning to the Federal Government before a nationwide strike may take place if they continue to delay the transmission of the minimum wage bill to the National Assembly.

“We believe that workers welfare and wellbeing should be paramount, that is why we ensured that this rally take place across the length and breadth of the country.

“Today in every government house in Nigeria protest is being transmitted to all our political leaders, governors at the state levels and here we are in the office of the Minister of the FCT.

“We want to say that workers are very central to economic development and very central to the prosperity of any country and therefore we cannot be described as tiny minority.

“Workers are very productive, we built the Nigerian economy, we fought for democracy, rule of law and good governance and there is no way we can be described as a tiny minority, because we serve the entire country.

“Workers should be able to take care of their family, send their children to school, but today the reverse is the case as workers can hardly feed three times a day or send their children to good school.

“We all know that minimum wage of N18,000 is no longer tenable and no longer realistic because it cannot take care of workers’ needs that is the reality. Nigeria has the best and largest economy in Africa and South Africa was only second to it.

“But South Africa pays N120,000 as their minimum wage and none of their political elite complains and they have been able to deliver,  likewise Ghana, that is why their economy is prospering.

“If we have a pool of the working poor there is no way the economy can do better.

“We came here to submit our letter of protest and demand like our  states councils are doing in their various zones right now, to the FCTA minister for onward transmission to Mr President.

“We call on Mr President to transmit the wage bill to the National Assembly as soon as possible”.

Lazarus Gaza, Head of Human Resource Department of the FCTA, who received the letter on behalf of the Minister, Bello Mohammed, assured that the letter would be delivered accordingly.

Senator Shehu Sani, Representing Kaduna Central later joined the protesters to show solidarity for the struggle over a new minimum wage for workers in the country.

 

 

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