Tuesday, 1 May 2012



Labour leaders are using the opportunity of today's May Day celebration to agitate for a further review of the national minimum wage for Nigerian workers. Their agitation for an upward review of the minimum wage may not be unconnected with alleged plan by government to further increase the pump price of fuel in view of the nation's dwindling revenue.Currently the benchmark minimum wage paid to workers in both public and private organisation is N18, 000 and the implementation took effect in March 2011.However, labour leaders who will present workers demand for further increment in the minimum wage at the eagle square today in Abuja said the N18, 000 minimum wage being paid workers was no longer tenable especially in the face of inflation and rising commodity prices. Specifically, they argued that the agitation for an upward review of the minimum wage was necessitated by the need to cushion the effect of the fuel price hike on the common masses and the increasing cost of basic commodities. Justifying the demand for upward review of the minimum wage President General of Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), Comrade Peter Esele argued that the rising level of inflation had made a mess of the real wages since the passage of the minimum wage act. Speaking further, he said the increasing deprivation, which workers had to go through in recent times as a result of various anti-people and workers policies of the government had necessitated the demand for an increment in minimum wage.Lamenting the failure of government to implement agreements, Esele explained: "Government had found it rather fashionable to pick and choose which law to obey and the ones to disregard especially when they feel that it will reduce what will remain for them to misappropriate".

"This is why we want to serve a notice to all State Governments that have refused to comply fully with the minimum wage act to immediately take steps to comply totally with the provisions of the law so as to purge themselves of this evil and avoid confrontation with Nigerian workers. "We also want to use this opportunity to serve a notice on the various governments at all levels that the Minimum wage of N18,000 is no longer tenable and it is time for a review. This is to bring it in conformity with the objective realities of our times and to cushion the effect of the fuel price hike on the common masses and the increasing cost of basic commodities including Housing," he said.

Earlier, President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Abdulwaheed Omar had advised that the increase in pump price of fuel had eaten deep into the N18,000 minimum wage thereby making workers worse off. He hinted that labour was going to use the opportunity of the today's May Day celebration to confront government on the issue. He also expressed concern over the failure of some states government to pay the minimum wage one way after it was passed into law by President Goodluck Jonathan adding that the action of government had worsen the plight of Nigerian workers whom he had not fared well in the last one year. "There are some states where the minimum wage has not been implemented, states like Enugu, Anambra and some other states in the South-east. This is a gross violation of the Constitution of the country and this is also a very serious area we are going to confront," he said...

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