Eid-el-Kabir: Nigerian workers demand wage justice

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has asked government as well as employers of labour to consider workers’ sacrifice and pay them a living wage.

According to a massage to mark this year’s Eid-el-Kabir, NLC President Comrade Ayuba Wabba said state governors yet to implement the minimum wage belonged to the league of politicians pouring contempt and acorn on the sacrifice of workers.

He said: “We demand wage justice now! State Governors yet to fully implement the national minimum wage and the consequential salary increase belong to the league of politicians who pour contempt and scorn on the sacrifice of Nigerian workers. Employers who deny workers social protection benefits regard workers as no better than slaves.

“Elected political office holders who believe that paying workers their salaries as when due is a misplaced priority have a misplaced sense of judgement. Such do not deserve our respect.

“On this Eid-el-Kabir, workers must not wait for any political office holder or employer to confer worth to our sacrifice. We must be confident that our contribution is making a marked difference between life and death, prosperity and poverty, fulfilment and frustration, progression and retrogression, and cohesion and chaos.

“We must also use this Eid-el Kabir to remember the sacrifice of our soldiers, police officers, and other para military security operatives who toil under the sun and rain, in the bush, jungle, deserts, and mangroves to keep us safe and to keep the corridors of our socio-economic life open for legitimate activities.

“We must remember those of them whose sacrifice is the ultimate price. We must remember the families they left behind.

“There is no sacrifice too big to make for peace. We urge the Muslim Ummah to use the occasion of this Sallah to pray for the forgiveness of sin, peace in our country, for the safe return of all victims of hostage-for-ransom all over the country and for prosperity.

“There can never be development without peace and security. We urge those who feel aggrieved with the State to give peace a chance. We appeal to those who feel wronged by the system to give peace a chance. We implore those who feel short-changed by society to give peace a chance.

“Those who are just irresponsible and unleashing wickedness on their fellow citizens, should remember that their victims are also victims of an unjust system. Government must strengthen security to rein in criminal elements. We will have no country if we all especially workers take out our grievances violently.

“This is why workers will continue to advocate for social dialogue and conciliation in dealing with social grievances, promoting social cohesion and fostering sustainable development. Violence is not excusable. Violence can never be the solution.

“We call on government to take utmost caution not to criminalize social dialogue. Social dialogue can only be meaningful when every party comes to the table in good faith. Government being the custodian of the ideals of our collective civilization must embrace social dialogue and with utmost good faith.

“Peaceful protest is a form of social dialogue. Peaceful protesters must not be harassed, humiliated, brutalized, maimed, imprisoned or killed. Violent crushing of peaceful protest sends a very dangerous signal that civilization and indeed our shared humanity have failed. The government as the embodiment of our sovereignty must ensure we never get to that point.

“On this Eid-el-Kabir, we must commend and extend the worthy sacrifice of the Nigerian workforce to all segments of society. The Social Partners – Government – Employers – Workers must all renew our commitment to making worthy sacrifices towards building a peaceful, prosperous, inclusive, secured, and sustainable society”.