Cross River, Taraba, Zamfara Are Yet To Pay Minimum Wage, Four Years After

In Breaking News, Business & Economy, Podcast

By Adelani Adepegba, Punch Newspaper

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Almost four years after the National Minimum Wage Act was signed into law, the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, has said workers in Cross River, Taraba, and Zamfara States have not been paid the new salary structure.

The NLC lamented the situation, saying all workers deserve decent wages and pensions.

Disclosing this in an Easter message on Monday, titled, “Hope that never dies,” 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 NLC 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 the military, police, and para-military deserve decent wages and pensions.”

He criticized the Government for not reviewing the electricity privatization program 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.

Meanwhile, the NLC has urged the Federal Government to respect the collective bargaining agreements entered into with the Academic Staff Union of Universities and other unions in the tertiary institutions in the country.

According to Wabba, millions of Nigerian university students, especially those attending public citadels of higher learning, are celebrating Easter outside the precincts of their campuses.

“It is even more tragic that the majority of the affected students are children from poor homes whose parents cannot afford to pay the outrageous fees charged by private universities.

He, therefore, added, “We demand respect for collective bargaining agreements signed with unions in our tertiary institutions and other sectors.”

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