May Day: Nigerian Workers Place Hands On Their Heads During Parade To Protest Conditions. This year’s celebration of workers day in Nigeria’s Benue state witnessed a low turn out of civil servants at the popular IBB square Makurdi, venue of the supposed joyous occasion. The few that came out turned the occassion into a protest march by placing their hands over their heads during the parade.
As organised labour in the country joins its counterparts around the world to celebrate this year’s May Day, Nigerian workers have decried what they described as the harsh economic condition.They called on the federal government to speed up the review of the minimum wage from N18,000 to N56,000.
According to the Secretary General of Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN), Comrade Alade Lawal, not fewer than 19 states currently owe their workers backlog of salaries and pension.
The workers also lamented that the current N18,000 minimum wage was no longer sustainable with the present economic challenge.
Speaking ahead of today’s workers’ day celebration, deputy president of NLC, Comrade Peters Adeyemi, hinted that the workers will avail themselves of the opportunity provided by the May Day to push for a review of the minimum wage.
He said, “We shall use this opportunity to renew the call for the review of the national minimum wage that is overdue for review considering the current economic trend. Inflation has increased, the naira has lost its value and the current minimum wage has been completely eroded. Therefore, the need and urgency for a call for the review of the current minimum wage.”
He said the theme of this year’s celebration, ‘Labour relations in economic recession: an appraisal’ provides the working class the opportunity to engage the government on how to revive the economy
Adeyemi said, “As the theme of this year’s May Day suggests, this is a time for us as working class to look at present economic situation that has witnessed negative downturn and the reality of the moment.
On his part, the state chairman of NUPENG, Tokunbo Korea stressed that the need for labour leaders to speak with one voice on the issue of minimum wage in order to get what belongs to them.
He called on President Buhari to pull the nation out of recession so that Nigerian workers would be comfortable.
But even as the workers lament, the federal government said that it shares their plight, pain and suffering under the current economic hardship.
The government stated this through the minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige on the occasion of 2017 Workers’ Day celebration.
Meanwhile, Senate President Bukola Saraki yesterday described Nigerian workers as the life-blood and driving force of the nation’s development in view of their invaluable contributions.
In a statement signed by his Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, to mark the 2017 Workers’ Day celebration, Saraki lauded the resilience and commitment of workers in both the formal and informal sector, saying their contribution to the nation and the economy was priceless.
Saraki also stated that the Senate will continue to work to establish and enhance all legislation that will guarantee the safety and well-being of Nigerian workers.
He emphasised the need for governments across all levels and participants in the private sector to work towards ensuring that workers receive their salaries and pensions as at when due, while necessary periodic training should be availed them to make workers competitive in a changing world.
Meanwhile, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has assured that the House is committed to passing a new minimum wage bill.
In a statement to mark the 2017 Workers’ Day, Dogara reiterated the resolve and commitment of the parliament to enacting the New minimum wage bill for Nigerian workers.
He said that increasing workers’ salary and wages had become necessary in view of the current inflation, naira devaluation and rising cost of living.
Meanwhile, the Speaker, House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara, on Sunday said that increasing workers’ salary had become necessary in view of the rising cost of living in the country.
In a statement by his Special Adviser, Media and Public Affairs, Mr Turaki Hassan, to mark the 2017 Workers’ Day, Dogara said that the House was committed to passing a new minimum wage bill.
The speaker reiterated the resolve of the parliament to enact a new wage bill for Nigerian workers.
The speaker further stressed that the eight House of Representatives in particular, was committed to initiating other laws and legislative interventions that would promote the welfare and well-being of Nigerian workers.
Dogara, however, enjoined workers, especially civil servants to rededicate themselves to duty and support government’s laudable policies and programmes.
Minister of Labor, Chris Ngige was prevented by angry workers from addressing them during the Workers’ Day rally in Abuja. The workers were chanting “increase our wage, ngige increase our wage.”