“Federal Government Must Revisit Minimum Wage” – TUC

The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) has said following the devaluation of the naira, Nigerian workers expect the federal government to increase the minimum wage from N18, 000 so as to cushion the effect of devaluation. The President General of the Congress, Comrade Bobboi Bala Kaigam, on Monday, said the challenges facing workers and the effect of the economy on them were not good for productivity.

Speaking with Leadership, on the plight of workers and their challenges, Kaigama noted that the congress has advocated for a living wage not a minimum wage, saying “we are sure this will come to reality, though we have made presentation to the government; we are expecting a kind of response from them.”

He opined that the devaluation of naira also affect workers because they go to the market and their children go to school, adding that the devaluation of the naira has weakened workers purchasing power.

He said, “Invariably, we expected increase in salary of workers to cushion the depreciation of naira but as you all know that we live in a place where government is insensitive to the plight of workers.

“Employers and government are concerned with profit they will make from their workers and are not considerate on the issue of the welfare of their workers. That is not going to say we will have stability before the election because it is a process and when you begin a process, it takes a period to resolve but be that as it may, what we are saying is to look at the economic situation of the country, and this has brought untold hardship on the workers.

“So how do we caution the effect on the Nigerian workers? That is why we want government to intervene. Among other things is increase in salary or put certain mechanism in place that will address the effect of the devaluation of naira”, he said.

The TUC boss also, revisited the fuel price reduction and canvassed for reduction in the price, saying a litre should be sold for less than N50.00 per litre. He said, “The oil price has gone down as low as 50 dollars and the percentage is more than 60 per cent, we expect that the locally refine petrol product price should also go below that.

We expect that to happen in this time. We shouldn’t by now buy petrol at N87 per liter. It should be far below N50.00 per litre but they are bamboozling us that they are paying subsidy of N90.00 on a litre but as far as I am concern there is no subsidy now.

“The January 2012 protest brought about SURE P but that is a one dollar question if it’s functioning or not. It will round up sooner than later because no money is going there again. What we are saying is that the situation has gone intolerable with Nigerian workers so what is the intervention mechanism that will cushion this”, he added.

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