Workers, under the auspices of Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE), have said they will no longer accept N18,000 as minimum wage when a Senator collects N13.5 million monthly, as a running cost.
The National President of AUPCTRE), Comrade Benjamin Anthony, and its FCT Chapter Acting Chairman, Comrade Aliyu Maradun, expressed workers’ discontentment at the slow pace of work on the issue of minimum wage.
Comrades Anthony and Maradun who were speaking at the sixth Quadrennial State Delegates Conference of the FCT Council of AUPCTRE, said the workers were waiting patiently for government pronouncement on minimum wage; adding that the workers have been shortchanged for the past two years, based on the law on minimum wage.
Comrade Maradun said: “We observed with great discontentment, the slow pace of work on the new national minimum wage, noting that the current minimum wage law came into effect in 2011 and it was designed for review in every five years. By implication, another minimum wage ought to have been signed into law since 2016. That is to say that, the Nigerian workers have been denied the fruit of their labour for the past two years.
“As we patiently await the pronouncement of the new minimum wage at the third quarter of the year as announced by the Minister of Labour, Dr. Chris Ngige during the just concluded 40th anniversary of the Nigeria Labour Congress. I implored Nigerian workers to be at. Alert as the road to the minimum wage may not come easy.
“I call on Nigerian workers to resist the deceit of the political class that there is no enough resources to pay minimum wage considering the wide gap that currently exist between the salaries of the political office holders and the toiling workers that produce the wealth of the nation.”
Also, Comrade Anthony said it was high time a new minimum wage which should qualify to be a living wage was paid to Nigerian workers, regretting that the process is being delayed too much.
The AUPCTRE national president said “someone sitting somewhere (Senator) cannot be collecting N13.5 million incentives in a month, and you pay a miserable N18,000 to a worker in a month. It is unacceptable, it is not possible and it is not going to work.”
He said: “On the strength of the above, permit me to state with every seriousness that the primary objective of our union is to defend the economic interest of our members through diligent negotiations, dialogue, collective bargaining, trade dispute, protest, rallies and strikes.
“Trade Union is an integral part of the society and has become an important part of the economic fabrics of Nigeria, recognized and consulted by employers of labour and governments.
“As a general Union, our mode of operation should reflect the fact that AUPCTRE is a “Movement” whose main objective is to defend workers’ rights and welfare and remain committed to social justice in the work place and the larger society.”
He added: “As leaders and workers, we must realize that neo-liberalism and globalization has done a great havoc to workers’ solidarity and comradeship.
“The situation now is that, workers world over and communities have turned against one another; the scenario today is such that while workers or group of workers are complaining of under payment or non-payment of wages, the unemployed youth are being turned into common thugs and engage in anti-social activities.
We owe it a patriotic duty to rise to demand for good governance from our elected leaders.”