– Ayuba Wabba, the president of the NLC, says threats by governors to sack workers over N30, 000 are mere distractions on the issue
– Wabba notes that labor is determined more than ever before to ensure that workers receive decent pay
– The labor leader says the figure of N30,000 as new minimum wage was arrived at after considering the high inflation rate, the poor purchasing power of naira among other variables
Labor leaders on Saturday, November 17, repeated their advice to President Muhammadu Buhari not to be misled by some governors on the new minimum wage demand by Nigerian workers.
Speaking during a working visit to Ado Ekiti, the president of the Nigeria Labor Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba, said there was no going back on the amount submitted to the federal government by labor.
He described the threat by governors that paying N30, 000 as minimum wage would result to retrenchments as mere distraction by the governors on the issue.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that labor and the governors have been at odds, following the persistent demand by the former that public sector workers in Nigeria should be paid a “decent wage’’.
Analysts have criticized the Nigerian government over the low pay of civil servants in the top oil exporting nation, where politicians earn some of the biggest wages in the world.
Wabba noted that labor was determined more than ever before to ensure that workers received decent pay, urging unions nationwide to remain resolute in their wage increase demands.
The labor chief, who was in Ado Ekiti to attend the 75th birthday celebration of a former chairman of the Ekiti state chapter of the Medical and Health Union of Nigeria, Johnson Ogunseeyin, described the governors’ position as reckless and heartless.
“I consider the governors’ position as a trick that is not new to us. There is no agitation by labor that never experienced such. So, we consider their position as an afterthought.
“In case they didn’t know, labor started with a proposal of N66, 000. So N30, 000 was a midway approach to resolve the crisis.
“We didn’t just request for it, we considered the high inflation rate, the poor purchasing power of naira among other variables.
“While we commend about six governors for saying they will pay N30, 000 minimum wage, we challenge those saying they can’t pay to go to their states and tell workers and pensioners that they can’t pay.
“This agitation started in November last year, even when the review was supposed to take place in 2016. The governors were asked to send memoranda and only 21 states complied.
“We want to tell the governors that we won’t succumb to their antics. We will receive nothing less than N30, 000 minimum wage for our people and we have directed workers to vote out any governor or his successor, who says he is not ready to pay,’’ said the labor leader.
Earlier, Wabba described Ogunseeyin as one of the few patriots and unionists, who fought for improved welfare of Nigerian workers.
In a speech, the Ekiti State Head of Service, Dr Gbenga Faseluka, appealed to workers to make productivity their watchwords, to boost nation growth.
Many labor leaders, including the chairman of the NLC in Ekiti, Ade Adesanmi, attended the event.
Meanwhile, the national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has said that Nigeria can afford to pay wages and called on governors to do their duties.
The Nation reports that the former governor said non-payment of salaries leads to low production.
He said when he was governor, he reiterated to his colleagues that salaries was a means of enhancing the potential of the states.
Oshiomhole, however, said one problem the country faced was the issue of money being stolen in the name of salaries.