Wabba advocates review of national minimum wage

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By: PATRICK TITUS, Uyo.
Towards alleviating poverty, the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, (NLC) Mr. Ayuba Wabba has called on the federal government to convene a tripartite committee to review the national minimum wage for workers.
Ayuba who stated this in his address at the opening of 14th edition of the NLC Rain School held at the NLC Workers’ Solidarity Centre in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state, said that the review become necessary in view of the present economic hardship.
“In the face of rising inflation occasioned by the devaluation of the Naira which makes the current minimum wage not to pay the transport fare of workers to and from work, not to talk of buying them basic needs, congress requests that, it is time minimum wage is reviewed as quickly as possible,” Ayuba stated.
The NLC President also said that arising from the current inflation, the federal government should as a matter of urgency begin to empower Nigerians with the recovered looted funds to give Nigerians the purchasing power rather than tie down the economy by continue withholding of money.
For state governments that continued to owe salaries and pensions of their work force for up to three months but expect the continued loyalty from the workers, Mr. Wabba called on them to have a rethink since such development negate the ethics of good governance and democracy.
He expressed dissatisfaction that inspite of the positive change that the President Mohammadu Buhari led administration promised Nigerians, the socio-economic conditions of average Nigerians have continued to degenerate by day.
The president also said that while Nigerians were yet to recover from the effects of the May 2016 increased in the pump price of petroleum products, the organized labour and its allies would not failed to go on strike over any attempt by government to further increase the pump price of fuel in the country.
In the same vein, marketers of the products are warned not to contemplate any further increase in the pump price of the products, especially the PMS.
He said that the 14th edition of the NLC Rain School which has as its theme, The Labour Movement and an Alternative Development Strategy” was auspicious in the face of the economic recession Nigeria was going through which called for development of alternative economic agenda that would take the country out of the woods.
According to him, “Development of an alternative strategy is not something that should be planned by the government and its think tank alone. It needs consultation with broad segment of the Nigerian society, especially with the progressive groups like the Nigerian Labour movement.”
Declaring the programme opened, the Akwa Ibom state governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel noted the importance of the Labour movement in any growing economy and commended Labour for establishing the Rain School to provide training grounds for Congress members.
Governor Emmanuel, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Etekamba Umoren said his administration would continue to provide essential services to the people of the state in order to drive the economy through private sector partnership.
He urged the organized labour in the state to support government efforts at addressing the current challenges caused by the economic down turn.
Earlier, the state chairman of NLC, Mr. Etim Ukpong had said that the NLC Rain School and its dry season version, the Hamattan School, is an educational programmes of Congress made to provide all-round training to labour activists and others within and outside Nigeria, for better industrial relations, greater understanding of the economic, political and social variables that made up the process of governance in the changing world, and employer-employee relations, in line with global best practices.

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