Union threatens to confront Buhari’s administration
The union also said that the issue of the minimum wage has to be settled this year.
The NLC Deputy President, Comrade Peters Adeyemi told Tribune that Nigerians are angry, adding that there is hunger in the land.
Adeyemi also said “In fact, it is going to be in the best interest of this government to conclude with the issue of minimum wage before the end of this year – get the law out and let it become payable.
“It is not we that are ready, the workers themselves are ready. From what you saw at the May Day, the workers are poised for action. And in fact, we don’t have the power. The power we have belong to the workers. So, if you say workers, let us go and they say no; that was what happened during the fuel price increase. They were still saying let us give them some chance. But now, I can assure you that Nigerian workers are very angry. There is hunger.”
Warning the Federal Government against using the minimum wage to score political points, the union leader said “What does it take as soon as the Federal Executive Council (FEC) gave the approval; they should name the chairman, and tell stakeholders to submit the names of their people.
“Do we still need to make noise before the committee is constituted? This delay is just a deliberate one to frustrate Nigerian workers. We are not happy about it. But let me say this. If they wait and wanted to use this issue of minimum wage as a political instrument or whatever, they are going to do it at their own peril, because as at that time, the anger of the Nigerian workers must have built up.
“You were at the May Day, you saw what happened. I hope they don’t do that. In fact, it is going to be in the best interest of this government to conclude with the issue of minimum wage before the end of this year – get the law out and let it become payable.
“Because, ideally if the committee starts work now, it should be able to conclude in three months. And then push it to the National Assembly. And let the National Assembly promulgate law.”
“That is the problem. There are people who are so sentimental about this government. You were here when this government increased the price of petrol. When NLC said we want to challenge that, Nigerians were saying to us, they were ready for the increase. That labour was just causing trouble. When we said stay at home, they stayed on the streets, driving their vehicles up and down.
“That was the certificate that this government got. So, if we don’t use our brain even as labour leaders, the tendency is for us to be accused of wanting to destabilise this government. Don’t forget that this government came in with massive popularity. And they rode on that popularity until the Nigerian people are beginning to be unhappy with this government.
“So, now, if you do a popularity rating of this government, you will find out that due to the hunger in the land, the popularity has gone down. So, labour movement had to be conscious of this because the tendency is for us to be accused of wanting to sabotage this government.
“That is why everywhere I go, people say labour is no longer what it used to be. That is the truth, I accept that. But the truth is that the leadership of labour will not mobilize itself. It will mobilise Nigerians. And if Nigerians prefer to go with the President rather than go with the labour movement, we have to re-strategise. So, it is only now that we can confront this government.
“Prior to this time, people were still dancing to the music of change. But now, the reality is beginning to dawn on everybody. That was why you saw what happened at the May Day. It is no longer our fault,” he added.
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) had earlier complained that workers welfare was not properly captured in the 2017 national budget.
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