Workers in the country will not allow the governments at all levels to make them sacrificial lambs of the current economic recession, president of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba has said.
In his New Year message, Wabba said the present minimum wage of N18,000 monthly cannot not sustain workers for thirty days.
“We insist that we will not allow ourselves to be made the sacrificial lamb of the recession. We will in the New Year redouble our efforts, using all available means at our disposal to get the Federal Government to constitute the tripartite panel to renegotiate a new minimum wage, which must be a living wage.’’
“Since we submitted a written request for a new national minimum wage of N52,000 per month last year, the purchasing power of Nigerian workers has so depreciated that it is pure miracle that individuals on the existing minimum wage of N18,000 are able to make ends meet in 30 days. At the beginning of 2016, with the Naira at N197 to $1, the minimum wage was equivalent of $91.3. At N495 to $1 this has in twelve month depreciated to $36.3,’’ Wabba said.
He urged the All Progressives Congress (APC) led Federal Government to make good its campaign promise of delivering 3 million jobs annually.
Wabba said “after 20 months in the saddle, the government should present it scorecard to the electorates.
“How many jobs have the Federal Government and the 23 states controlled by the APC created in the course of the last 20 or so months, in furtherance of its pledge to Nigerians during the electioneering campaign?” he asked.
Wabba berated the Federal Government for ignoring some recommendations of the Congress on how to create new and sustainable jobs saying, “Unfortunately, no one in government has thought it necessary to give us a hearing on what these ideas are, and what they entail. Presently, we are not even sure which ministry or agency of the government is the focal point on job creation.
“What we have said of the ruling APC party, applies in large measures as well to the PDP and the states they control.’’
He said that the May 2016 increase in price of fuel from N86 a litre to N145 a litre, and the attendant inflationary pressures have necessitated the urgent need for the upward review of the national minimum wage.