Nigerian Workers Make Fresh Demands as May Day Is Celebrated Nationwide

Nigerian Workers Make Fresh Demands as May Day Is Celebrated Nationwide

Organised Labour comprising members of the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress celebrated the International Workers Day, known as the May Day with pomp and pageantry across Nigeria and expectedly presented a list of demands to the government of Nigeria. On his part President Muhammadu Buhari encouraged the incoming administration to continue to

Organised Labour comprising members of the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress celebrated the International Workers Day, known as the May Day with pomp and pageantry across Nigeria and expectedly presented a list of demands to the government of Nigeria.

On his part President Muhammadu Buhari encouraged the incoming administration to continue to respect workers’ rights imbued with socio-economic development and driven by the four pillars of the decent work agent to promote jobs and enterprises, guaranteeing rights at work, extending social protection, and promoting social dialogue for consensus building and maintain a Sound National Industrial Relations System.

President Buhari said workers’ rights coupled with socio-economic justice make a happy workplace. “We therefore agree that a fair economic structure targeted at creating opportunities for all to succeed irrespective of sex, race/ethnicity, age, disability, creed, religion, etc. is sine qua non for progress and development,” he stressed.

The president, represented by the Secretary to the Federal Government (SGF) Mr. Boss Mustapha gave the advice at the 2023 Workers day/May day :”government affirms the need for the enthronement of decent work which sums up the aspiration that all people have for their working lives; for work that is productive, delivers a fair income with security and social protection, safeguards basic rights, offers equality of opportunity and treatment, prospects for personal development and the chance for recognition and to have your voice heard.

“These elements of decent work concur with our commitment to reduce poverty and forge a path to achieving equitable, inclusive and sustainable development, and ultimately peace and security in communities.

The President who noted that workers and government have experienced together the hardships of economic recession and the triumph of its recovery said :”we have also gone through the horrific period of a pandemic – the global COVID-19 Pandemic and its aftermath. Businesses and jobs were lost and new forms of employment relationship emerged mostly in the teleworking sector of the economy”.

He explained that the importance and relevance of the Informal Economy became pronounced and its vulnerability was highlighted during these times.

Labour’s Demand

The organized labour, however, made 11 demands of the federal government; This speech will not be complete without making the following demands said Comrade Joe Ajaero at the May Day celebration in Abuja:
1. That the proposed U$D1.2b National Census scheduled to hold before May 29 this year be halted to allow the new administration to handle it
2. That the privatisation of the Electricity sector be reviewed in favour of Nigeria
3. That the resumption and ramping up of the activities of kidnappers and bandits since after the election should be quickly addressed
4. That the Judiciary should purge itself and redeem our democracy by its handling of the various election petitions before it
5. The setting up of an independent panel to investigate the INEC chairman and his team in their conduct of the last general election
6. Investigate the spending of N12b by the Aviation Ministry to buy 10 fire trucks
7. Stop the ongoing legislative madness in the NASS that seeks to stop Medical personnel from taking employment outside the country.
8. Continue the objective of returning the local refineries to full capacity and invest in new refineries but in the short-run, sort out the supply bottle-necks that has made product availability difficult in Nigeria.
9. The outgoing President must take steps to ensure that those in his administration planning last minute heist of the nation’s treasury are stopped
10. The stoppage of every action, program or policies that may inflict any form of suffering on Nigerians and workers
11. The federal government should not heed not just IMF’s advise on Tax increase but all of its economic pieces of advises as they are poisonous to our nation’s economic health.

Minister of Labour, Dr. Chris Ngige

Labour and Productivity Minister, Dr. Chris Ngige in his speech said the Nigerian government recognises the importance of Nigerian workers, and we are committed to creating the right environment for them to thrive.

“In the past few years, we have taken a number of measures to support Nigerian workers, including the review and increasing of the National Minimum Wage, 2 019 , Institutionalising its review automatically every five years in the Act , providing better working conditions, and environment, Investing in training and re- training , education. And human capacity development for her workers and also recognize that there is a lot more work to be done to improve the lives of Nigerian workers.

The Minister who acknowledged the fact that many Nigerian workers continue to face significant challenges, including low take home pay, lack of job security, and unsatisfactory working conditions however said government is committed to addressing these issues and creating a more favourable environment for Nigerian workers to thrive.

“The solution to these challenges will not come overnight but as work in progress.These have been top priorities on the agenda of the outgoing Administration and are also being bequeathed to the incoming Administration and with a work plan for addressing them as Government is a Continuum”, he stressed.

Dr. Ngige implored Labour Leaders, to consolidate on the mileage already covered by the Federal Government in the last eight (8) years, eschew acrimony, factionalism, selfishness, and develop a spirit of cooperation rather than confrontation and engage in Social Dialogue rather than Aggression and unnecessary industrial actions with Employers.

“Social Dialogue as an elixir would engender mutual trust and understanding ; strengthen and consolidate unity needed to build the prosperous and egalitarian Nation of our dream”, he stressed.

Joint Address by NLC and TUC

In a joint address by Comrade Joe Ajaero, President, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC)and Comrade Festus Osifo of the the Trade Union Congress(TUC) lamented that some state governments continue to refuse to comply with the provisions of the 2019 national minimum wage act while some others have pocketed deducted check-off dues belonging to trade unions.

” Some private sector employers have begun to act in total disregard to our laws and the various rules of engagement governing industrial relations in our country. Flagrant disobedience to our laws is abhorrent thus all employers that are not complying with the dictates of our extant labour laws should be prepared for more robust engagement with organised Labour”, they warned.

It is necessary to recall that we have continued, over the years, to demand that the salary of core Civil Servants should be beefed up to narrow the gap between the emoluments of Civil Servants and those of employees in other segments of the public service. They all possess the same educational qualifications and cognate experience on the job, so why the disparity?

The labour leaders called for a review upward, the retirement age and years of service in the entire Public Service.

“Extension of years of service as was done in other sectors of the Public service, we believe should go round. Only few other establishments including the core Civil Service are now left out. We are, therefore, demanding that the age of retirement and length of service in the entire Public Service including the Civil Service should be reviewed upward to 65 years of age and 40 years of service, whichever comes first.

Speaking on the nation’s judiciary, the labour leaders lamented that they seems to have been heavily compromised and has lost its moral authority in the eyes of many Nigerians.

“When the refrain; go to Court from Politicians after every electoral heist becomes rampant; it makes mockery of the judiciary and its various processes. That refrain shows the contempt with which our Politicians have come to hold the Courts and strips the Lordships the usual reverence attached to their offices. It shows a desecration of a once hallowed entity but which they have now besmirched”.

The labour leaders condemned the ethnic profiling and violence that has erupted before, during and after the last general elections which in all portends great danger for our nation.

His words: “the use of inflammatory words that deepens our national cleavages remains unacceptable and the attempt to brand some groups in certain ways to muzzle free speech and criminalize the holding of opposing views speaks to the level of intolerance that pervades our nation.

“Nigeria transcends individual or narrow political interests of whatsoever kind and those that insist on placing their personal interests above that of our nation are the real enemies of the country. “We condemn in unmistakable terms the idea behind the use of violence to intimidate and cow other segments of the country to submission when sane dialogue and mutual respect would have sufficed.

President-Elect Extends Hands of Friendship to Labour

The President-elect in his solidarity message to the organized labour said :”on this special day, as your President-elect, I extend my hands of friendship to the Nigerian workers through the two central Labour unions – Nigeria Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress. In me you will find a dependable ally and co-labourer in the fight for social and economic justice for all Nigerians, including all the working people.

“Your fight will be my fight because I will always fight for you. My plans for better welfare and working conditions are clearly spelt out in my Renewed Hope Agenda for A Better Nigeria. It is a covenant born of conviction and one I am prepared to keep.

“At this point, I must remind Nigerian workers that we all have a common battle to wage, one which we must win together. And it is the fight against poverty, ignorance, disease, disunity, ethnic and religious hate and all negative forces that contend against the stability and prosperity of our country.

“In the Nigeria I shall have the honour and privilege to lead from May 29, workers will have more than a minimum wage. You will have a living wage to have a decent life and provide for your families.

“The days ahead will, however, demand better understanding and cooperation from all sides, because leadership will require that we take tough and hard decisions so that our people and all Nigerian workers can live more abundantly.

“I wish Nigerian workers and the leadership of NLC and TUC Happy Workers’ Day!”

Mr. Peter Obi, Presidential Candidate Graced the Occasion

The Presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Mr. Peter Obi, also gave a solidarity message to the workers amidst cheers. He advised the workers to go about their activities in a lawful because we have no other country than Nigeria.

Posts Carousel

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Latest Posts

Top Authors

Most Commented

Featured Videos