By Funmilayo Okunade and Friday Idachaba
The organised labour in Ekiti and Kogi states, on Tuesday, declared that there would be no going back on the agitation for the new national minimum wage of N30,000, and urged President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure its immediate implementation.
Members of the organised labour, consisting of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) among others, converged at the popular Fajuyi Park, Ado Ekiti at a protest rally for the new minimum wage.
The President of the National Association of Nigeria Nurses’ and Midwives, Mr Abdulrafiu Adeniji, representing the NLC National President, said there would be no going back on the new national minimum wage. Adeniji said the decision to embark on a nationwide strike and protest was the last resort to those who had mistaken the union’s patience for weakness.
He said the new minimum wage must be enacted and quickly implemented by every tier of government at the Federal, State and Local Government levels. Adeniji urged the workers to remain steadfast and firm on their rights to decent wages and improved living conditions.
He urged the government to desist from using sack threat or policy of “no work no pay” to break the unions, noting that it would only energise them the more.
In his address, the Chairman, Academic Staff Union of Secondary Schoosl, who is also the Vice Chairman, Trade Union Congress (TUC), Mr Sola Adigun, said the new minimum wage was long overdue and government should implement it.
Also, the Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities (SSANU), Ekiti State University (EKSU) chapter, Mr Olatunde Kolapo, said the N30, 000 was too small to enhance the living standard of workers, and it should not be difficult for government to pay.
In the same vein, the Organised Labour in Kogi on Tuesday called on President Muhammadu Buhari to quickly implement the N30,000 minimum wage.
Mr Onu Edoka, Chairman of the state chapter of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), made the call during a protest march to Government House, Lokoja for implementation of the N30,000 new minimum wage.
Edoka said some state governors hiding under the guise of Nigeria Governors’ Forum wanted to distract the president from implementing the new minimum wage.
“We hereby reiterate our directive to Nigerian workers to vote out any politician or political party that refuses to pay the new national minimum wage of N30, 000. We shall continue to consolidate our efforts to strengthen already existing platforms and structures to give teeth to our firm resolve to remove from power anti-labour governors and political leaders in the general election.
“We urge government to desist from using the threat of mass sack or the barbaric policy of “no work, no pay” to break our resolve as this will only calcify our position,’’ he said.
Edoka said workers in the state were being owed salary arrears of between five and 24 months without concrete plan to pay.
Representatives of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC), Medical and Health workers Union (MHWUN), National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) also took part in the Kogi State protest.