May Day: Labour demands speedy implementation of new minimum wage

As Nigerian workers join their counterpart across the globe to mark May Day, labour leaders have demanded for speedy implementation of the N30,000 new minimum wage, tackling of growing insecurity and poor power supply.

They advised workers to brace up to ensure that employers in both public and private sectors implement the new minimum wage as signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari.

In his message, President of United Labour Congress of Nigeria(ULC), Joe Ajaero, lamented that “as we mark 2019 May Day Nigerian workers are still suffering from hunger, inflation, poverty, political/management impunity.”

Ajaero who is also the General Secretary of the National Union of Electricity Employees(NUEE), said: “Nigerian workers are facing various economic challenges manifesting in arbitrary sack, non-negotiation of Conditions of Service, stagnation of salary, insecurity, un-conducive work environment, casual/contract appointments, poor salaries and other conditions of Service and weak currency all starring us on the face, as we mark the 2019 May Day.

“Nigerian Government and various State Government, should as a matter of urgency commence the implementation of the N30,000 minimum wage without delay. The Workers of this great Nation will no longer take excuses for the non implementation of the minimum wage in the Public and Private Sectors.

“It is sad that Nigeria at this level of development is still battling with power poverty celebrating less than 4000 megawatts of electricity for a population of 150million people when the global index for power development stands at one Million people to one thousand megawatts. Nigerians are painstakingly waiting for the Sector to be properly fixed as this is pivotal to the Country’s socio-economic advancement.

“The spate of killings, kidnapping, terrorism, insurgency of Boko-Haram and Herdsmen have remained unabated. Regrettably we have lost members through this total disregard to sanctity of human life. We passionately appeal to Government to put an end to these killings.”

Similarly, President and Secretary General of the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria(ASCSN), Bobboi Kiagama and Lawal Bashir, said: “As we join millions of Nigerian workers to mark the 2019 May Day, we also use the opportunity to commend President Muhammadu Buhari for signing the N30,000 monthly National Minimum Wage into law.

“As a follow up to this development, we urge the Federal Government to set up the Committee that will negotiate with labour the consequential adjustments arising from the New Minimum Wage. We cannot allow the experience that trailed the implementation of the 2011 National Minimum Wage where employees in other grade levels were not adequately taken care of to repeat itself since this will lead to another round of disputes and disaffection among workers.”

Also, the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers(NUPENG), in a statement by its President and General Secretary, Prince William Akporeha and Olawale Afolabi, said: “We wish to commend President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Assembly for the passage and signing into Law the new national minimum wage. We further wish to implore all employers of Labour (Public and Private) in the Country to ensure immediate implementation of the new minimum wage.

“We offer our hands of fellowship to all workers who might need support in the unforeseen situation of any employer including State governments that may be thinking of cutting corners with regards to the implementation of the new minimum wage.

“We know as a matter of fact that there is no state in Nigeria that does not have the capacity to conveniently implement this modest benchmark for workers in their respective states. It is therefore imperative for the Government to focus on how to deepen good governance and restrain from fiscal wastages.”

In the same vein, Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria(PENGASSAN), in a statement by its President and General Secretary, Francis Johnson and Lumumba Okugbawa, said: “The organised labour movement presented its position to the Federal Government on our envisaged minimum wage, which was after various meetings and negotiations agreed at N30, 000 after necessary legislative backing and assent.

“As we await the implementation of the new wage structures across all levels of government and the private sector, our message to you is that the battle will continue until our quest for a living wage is achieved.

On its part, National Union of Chemical, Footwear, Rubber, Leather and Non-Metallic Products Employees(NUCFRLANMPE), in a statement by its President and Acting National Secretary, Goke Olatunji and Ola Dada, said: “This year’s Workers’ Day calls for not only celebration but also reflection on the state of the nation in the face of rising unemployment, poor electricity supply, bad roads network, insecurity as well as unsecured borders leading into influx of substandard goods, consequently resulting to job losses.

“It is however, our hope that with the signing into law of the N30, 000 minimum wage by President Muhammadu Buhari, employers in the public and the private sectors would begin speedy implementation.”

President of Nigeria Labour Congress(NLC), Ayuba Wabba, had earlier told NLC leaders across the states that organised labour had “demonstrated tenacity in the pursuit of a new national minimum wage for workers. We have held several rallies, protest marches at both federal and state levels and even embarked on a few strike actions to press home our demand for a new national minimum wage.

“A few weeks ago, the two chambers of the National Assembly passed the National Minimum Wage (2019) Amendment bill. The bill was assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari on April 18, 2019. There cannot be a more perfect May Day gift for Nigerian workers.

“Well, the upward review of the national minimum wage is not so much a gift as it is the right of workers. This right was delayed for too long. As Mr. President ordered during the signing into law of the National Minimum Wage (2019) Amendment bill, we call on all employers of labour to commence payment immediately.

“I urge the incoming leadership of our state councils to make the immediate payment of the new national minimum wage of N30,000 and review of monthly pension by state governments your top priority.”

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