Minimum wage: Workers moody as Labour stage Nationwide protest

Generally, there was ceaseless moments of angst and obvious sadness glaring on the faces of mostly government workers popularly known as Civil Servants following Nationwide protest declared by the Organised Labour, comprising – Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC).

The protest was held in various part of the country including Abuja, the nation’s capital. NLC President, Ayuba Wabba led the protesting union members at the Labour House in Abuja.

Workers across various states including Lagos, Edo, Kwara, Imo, Ekiti, Anambra, Niger, Jigawa, Kaduna, Ogun, Akwa Ibom, Abia, among others also joined the protest.

According to the NLC, the protest is in reaction to the delay of the executive to transmit the recommendations of the tripartite committee on a new national minimum wage to the national assembly.

The nationwide protest is coming after several months of negotiation between Federal Government representatives led by the Labour Minister Chris Ngige and the leaders of the labour union.

Blueprint monitored proceedings and will bring full dose of how it all went down subsequently.

Speaking in Abuja, President of the NLC, Ayuba Wabba said most Nigerian workers are unable to eat three times per day.

Wabba said workers should be able to take care of their family but, in reality, reverse is the case.

The labour leader said workers built the Nigerian economy and “there is no way we can be described as tiny minority”, adding that their welfare and well-being must be paramount.

He said: “We want to say that workers are very central to economic development. They are very central to the prosperity of any country and therefore we can not be described as the tiny minority.

“Nigerian workers are an asset and must be celebrated. Anywhere around the world where there is progress, workers are celebrated. Workers must be able to take care of their families, they must be able to feed well, they must be able to pay children’s school fees, but today most workers are unable feed three meals per day because the minimum wage of N18,000 is no longer enough to cater for their basic needs.

“Workers create the wealth of any nation. If we create the wealth of Nigeria then we must partake in the sharing of such wealth and therefore the welfare of workers must be paramount. That was why we said that this rally will take place at the length and breadth of the country.

“So workers must be able to take care of their family, send their children to school. But today, workers are not able to feed three times a day or send their children to school because minimum wage of N18, 000, is no longer sustainable and no longer realistic and cannot take care of worker’s needs. This is the reality.

“Therefore we have agreed on the negotiation table which took us up to one year negotiating. Workers have been patience and more considerate and we look at all issues and we agreed on the N30,000.”

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