Nigerian Workers have expressed displeasure at the failure of the Federal Government to approve a new Minimum wage for workers in the country.The aggrieved workers made their grievances known on Monday at the 2017 May Day rally at the Eagle Square in Abuja rejecting all pleas by their leaders chanting”NO”and calling for a new minimum wage.
The workers insisted that the Federal Government has a responsibility to give them a definite position on the lingering issue of a new Minimum Wage in the country.
The workers also faulted the absence of the President and his deputy from the event, where they expected either of the two to address them on the lingering crises.
They insisted that the N18,000 minimum wage has become inadequate to feed their families and indeed to survive in the face of the biting effects of the economic recession in the country.
Trouble started when the workers, who had gathered in front of the podium to listen to the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, were told that the Acting Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mrs. Abiola Bawa, was to address them on his behalf.
This seemed to have angered the workers, who insisted that the minister should address them on the issue of the minimum wage while they would wait to see the representative of the President.
They rejected the explanation by the President of the NLC, Mr. Ayuba Wabba, that the minister could not read his own address as he was meant to read the President’s address as his representative.
The workers brought out their posters and chanted “we need a new minimum wage now” and insisted that the event would not continue until the issue was addressed.
However, when Ngige mounted the podium, they insisted that they needed a new minimum wage and that he had nothing to offer them.
Labour leaders of the NLC and the TUC made frantic efforts to douse the tension for Ngige to address the workers without success.Also effort by former Governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomole,a former President of the NLC, proved abortive as the workers refused to listen to him.
In a related development, The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria and the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry also disagreed with two civil society organisations on workers’ demand for N56,000 minimum wage
While the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights and the Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders supported the workers’ call for the review of the minimum wage, MAN and the ACCI said the economy could not sustain N56,000 minimum wage.