Sunday, May 1, 2011

MAY DAY: Workers await Jonathan’s N18,000 minimum wage

The Nigerian workers are set to troop into the Eagles Square  venue of the National May Day Rally, in Abuja, with expectations  from President Goodluck Jonathan, to announce the effective take  off of the N18,000 minimum wage.

Already, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade  Union Congress (TUC), had written the President to  underscore the importance and the need for him to be present at  the May Day rally.

Also, the Minister of Labour, Chief Emeka Wogu, had assured the  workers that President Jonathan, being a lover of workers, would be  at the rally to celebrate with and address them, despite his very busy schedule due to an on-going retreat at the Obudu  Cattle Ranch, being attended by the President.

The NLC and TUC are organising a joint May Day rally today at  the Eagles Square, Abuja while the ceremony will also take off  simultaneously in all the state capitals by the state branches.

The Head of Information and Public Relations of the NLC,  Comrade Chris Uyot said Nigerian workers will join working  people all over the world to mark Workers Day on Sunday May  1, 2011.
The event which will be held throughout the country, according  to Comrade Uyot, will be attended by all organized workers,  professionals, students, market men and women, as well as  members of other civil society organisations.

He said: “The National May Day will take place at the Eagle  Square, Abuja, Federal Capital Territory, from 9.00am.  Expected  to grace the occasion as Special Guest of Honour is the President  and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal  Republic, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan; the Senate President,  Senator David Mark and the Speaker of the House of  Representatives, Right Honourable Dimeji Bankole, and members  of the diplomatic corps as well as Ministers and legislators.

“The May Day will be addressed by the President of the Nigeria  Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Abdulwahed I. Omar, and the  President of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) Comrade Peter  Esele, as well as leaders of civil society organisations.”

As part of activities heralding the May Day,  a Symposium was  held on Thursday at the Labour House. The Symposium featured  prominent experts and scholars in the country and addressed the  theme of this year’s May Day which is: “Growing the National  Economy for Job Creation and Peoples Welfare”.

The NLC and the TUC, therefore, called on all workers and the  Nigerian people to actively participate in the events, marking the  significant International Workers’ Day in the life of the working  people at the Eagles Square and other state capital across the  country today.

The Deputy President of NLC, Comrade Promise Adewusi, who  spoke extensively on the expectations of the workers from  President Jonathan, said: “the issue of the national minimum  wage has not been completely settled because up till now we  have not sighted the signed copy of the bill.”

He stated that the workers and their members were worried. The  NLC deputy president said: “What is the effective date? All these  can only be addressed when we sight the signed copy of the  bill.”

Comrade Adewusi added: “There are insinuations here and there  that the government has inserted a differentiated salary between  federal workers and the state workers. Though, the Minister of  Labour has come out to clear the air that the N18, 000 minimum  wage is binding on every state government, but after that, some  state governments have come out to say that if the monthly  revenue formula is not reviewed, they cannot pay the new wage  and this is worrisome.

“It is like keeping labour in suspense and we do not want to act  out of context particularly because of the elections, otherwise we  would have demanded that we see the signed copy because we  expected that the minimum wage will take effect from  January.

“They should let us know when indeed the date is.

He said: “We also expect that President Jonathan and his agents  will not only recognize but also implement and respect every agreement reached with the workers because  this is very critical particularly to ensure industrial peace within  the country.

“We also expect the President to put in place those necessary  mechanisms that will create job in the country and that would  also exclude mass retrenchment either from the public or private  sector.”
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