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2017: What Nigerian Workers Expect From Buhari

Published by Leadership on Wed, 11 Jan 2017

2016 was once of the worst year for Nigerian workers. Thousands of Nigerians lost their jobs to the economic recession, while some employers including state governors were unable to pay their workers.Besides, the astronomical increase in the pump price of petroleum products, the massive and continuing devaluation of the naira, the rise in inflation, and the 43% increase in electricity tariff in february 2016, all combined to make life difficult for the wage earners, and worse for the teeming millions of Nigerians.However, Nigerian workers are looking into the new year with optimism. Accordingly, in the new year, workers under the banner of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) have put in a list of expectations from the federal government. The workers in their request said they expect the federal government to above all tackle the issue of unemployment, unpaid salaries and pension and as well as implement the N56, 000 new minimum wageJob Creation:Following the thousands of jobs that were lost last year, workers say they expect the government to invest massively in job creation initiatives in the new year.A statement by NLC president, Ayuba Wabba said, Crisis of unemployment in the new year, the crisis of monumental unemployment in the country will remain with us.According to him, the APC government at the centre had made clear promise in its manifesto of delivering 3 million jobs annually.He expressed sadness that after some 20 months in the saddle, it is perhaps time to ask the government to give a scorecard to the Nigerian people that went through a lot of odds to elect this government.He said, How many jobs has the federal government and the 23 states controlled by the ruling party created in the course of the last 20 or so months, in furtherance of its pledge to Nigerians during the electioneering campaign.We had stated in our past may day and new year messages, as well as other policy pronouncements, that we have some ideas on how, we can create new and sustainable jobs.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.We will in the new Year continue to knock on the doors of all organs of government and put on the agenda the massive unemployment situation the country is facing.Minimum Wage IncrementWith diminishing purchasing power and increasing cost of living, workers are optimistic of the implementation of the N56,000 minimum wage. The proposal was submitted since May 1, 2016 but the government and organised Labour are yet to set up a committee to commence negotiations.NLC president said there is an Urgent need for new national minimum wage since we submitted a written request for a new national minimum wage of N56,000 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 n18000 are able to make ends meet in 30 days.According to him at the beginning of 2016, with the naira at N197 to $1, the minimum wage was equivalent of $91.3.He said at N495 to $1 this has in twelve month depreciated to $36.3.Wabba said further, the may 2016 huge increase in price of fuel from n86 a litre to n145 a litre, and the attendant inflationary pressures, should have trigged an automatic increase in the minimum wage. With the erosion in the living standard of workers occasioned by the free fall of naira, and the rising cost of living, 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.Unpaid Salaries and Pensions/RetrenchmentsThe NLC said in the preceding year, had to tackle a number of state governments over non-payment of outstanding wages and pension of workers and pensioners.It said among the states were Imo, Oyo, Ogun, Ekiti, Kogi and Nasarawa.He said, In the case of Nasarawa, we lost two workers to trigger happy Nigerian Policemen, who murdered these workers in cold blood for protesting the unjust policy of the state government of paying half salaries to different cadres of Civil Servants in the state.
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