Almost four years after the National Minimum Wage Act was signed into law, the Nigeria Labour Congress has said workers in Cross River, Taraba, and Zamfara states have not been paid the new salary structure.–
The congress lamented the situation, saying all workers deserved decent wages and pensions.
Disclosing this in a statement, the NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, also complained about the deteriorating energy crisis in the country, stressing that the prices of diesel, aviation fuel, and Premium Motor Spirit had soared to unprecedented heights.
This, he noted, had compounded the unemployment crisis in the country with most banks being forced to reduce their working hours with dire consequences for national productivity and economic growth.
The prevailing chaos in the energy sector, Wabba said, was traceable to the embrace of neoliberal and anti-people policies by successive governments.
The congress observed that the energy crisis had also led to a hike in air ticket prices and that due to diesel scarcity and high cost, the few surviving industries were being forced to either completely shut down or significantly scale down their operations with grave implications for job security.
He stated, “It is difficult to imagine that many workers in Nigeria are yet to enjoy the national minimum wage almost four years after being signed into law. Particularly culpable are Cross River, Taraba and Zamfara states. Nigerian pensioners are not spared as many of them are denied their gratuity and pension arrears.
“Tragically, while wages remain the same and sometimes are unpaid, the cost of living keeps skyrocketing. Inflation has eroded the purchasing power of workers as the naira continues to lose its value. We must stress that all workers including military, police, and para-military deserve decent wages and pensions.”
He criticised the government for not reviewing the electricity privatisation programme as stipulated by the Electric Power Sector Reform Act.
While saluting Nigerian workers, Wabba stated, “This Easter, we ask government and private sector employers to meet workers halfway and put a glow to our hopes. We demand respect for Collective Bargaining Agreements signed with unions in our tertiary institutions and other sectors.
“States yet to fully implement the national minimum wage should do so immediately. We demand immediate clearing of pension arrears owed to our retirees. Employers should deliver on prompt salary payment, periodic salary increment, promotion, regular training, access to social housing, affordable healthcare, paid vacation cum sick leave and compensation for injury at work.”
The union disclosed that the workers would engage aspirants in the 2023 general election on issues, noting that only candidates and parties that subscribed to the workers’ charter of demands would be supported.