… As Union leaders task FG on review of minimum wage***
The Senior Staff Association of Statutory Cooperation and Government Owned Companies (SSACGOC) has urged the Federal Government to address inflation in order to improve the nation’s economic indices.
Mr Kayode Alakija, SSACGOC President General, made the call on Monday in Abuja while speaking with newsmen on the need for an improved welfare package for the Nigerian workers.
The newsmen report that Alakija was recently elected as the President-General of the association.
Alakija said the continuous devaluation of the Naira was worrisome as it negatively affects the cost of goods and services.
He said inflation had taken its toll on workers’ income and the well-being of ordinary Nigerians.
According to him, unfortunately, whatever the country’s authorities and labour are doing in terms of salary review has been taken away by inflation.
“I will keep telling people that even when we had the N18,000 minimum wage, we were even better off than what we are earning now.
“As of today I think one dollar now is about N589 to N590 vis-à-vis the minimum wage, you will discover that an average Nigerian is not even earning up to 60 dollars in a month.
“And what can you do with 60 dollars.
So to me, in terms of workers’ welfare or package, a lot still needs to be done, ’’ he said.
The SSACGOC chief said that it was imperative for the Federal Government to address the issue of inflation as the negative effects were better imagined than experienced.
Alakija said when inflation was addressed the economic indices will improve.
“It will improve the purchasing power and reduce workers’ agitation for salary increase because the little they earn will be enough for them”, he said.
He said there was a need for governments to open up the economy by creating more job opportunities for the teeming youths.
“We have seen a lot of Executive Orders encouraging foreign investors to come and invest in the country but this has not yielded the desired result.
“It will still interest you to know that our investment environment is still not friendly for foreigners to come in.
“Until when there is improvement in the foreign direct investment our economy can grow and be viable to attract more foreign investors”, he said.
According to him, if the nation’s GDP is growing, it should translate to activities in the economy.
He also called on the Federal Government to address security challenges in the country.
Alakija pledged that the association would encourage its members to be more efficient and effective with a view to contributing their quota to the nation’s economy.
SSACGOC is an affiliate member of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) with 64 branches both at the federal and state levels.
In another development, some union leaders in Lagos State have tasked the Federal Government with an upward review of the current N30,000 minimum wage of Nigerian workers.
The unions said that the minimum wage must be a living wage, commensurate with rising costs of living due to inflation.
They told the newsmen in separate interviews in Lagos on Monday, that a review of the minimum wage would help ameliorate the hardship borne by civil servants.
The Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalist (NUJ) Lagos State chapter, Mr Adeleye Ajayi said that Nigerian workers must earn good salaries and wages in order to live a good life.
“Inflation is rising every day, therefore, there is a need for government to increase workers’ salaries.
“The last time the Federal Government proposed minimum wage was many years ago, so I think it is time for upward review.
“Workers need to be comfortable, to be more productive in the different aspects of government parastatals they find themselves in,” he said.
Ajayi said that government appointees at the helm of affairs should ensure prudence in the management of the nation’s resources and look for ways to create jobs for the teeming youthful population.
“Government should find a way of providing more employment opportunities for the youths because an idle hand is the devil’s workshop.
“I believe that every employer, both private and public sector should make their employees happy by providing a conducive environment for them to work in.
“The ultimate goal of being a member of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) is to ensure that the government knows the plight of workers so that they can ameliorate their sufferings,” the NUJ chairman said.
Also, Mr Ismail Adejumo, Lagos state chapter chairman of the Radio, Television, Theatre and Arts Workers Union of Nigeria (RATTAWU) congratulated Nigerian workers for their resilience and dedication to duty.
Adejumo said that Nigerian workers had continued to ensure they provided selfless services at different sectors of government in spite of the economic challenges.
“The current economic challenges are biting hard on most homes and most of our workers cannot survive on their take-home pay.
“The take-home wage cannot be enough to cater adequately for their daily needs because all the economic indices have gone up.
“Workers are lamenting but in the midst of all these economic hardships, still remain resilient and dedicated to their duties,” the RATTAWU chairman said.
He urged the government to reciprocate Nigerian workers’ efforts, by ensuring it reviewed the current salary upwards to bring about a better life for them.
“This is our prayer and we will continue to be loyal to the government and support them to bring about the desired change for Nigerians generally,” Adejumo said.
Also speaking, Chairman, Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) UNILAG branch, Mr Kehinde Ajibade said it was necessary to awaken the consciousness of government at all levels to the welfare of Nigerian citizens and workers.
“The NASU and Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities (SSANU) have been on strike now for over a month because our agitations have not been met.
“Some of our agitations boil down to the inconsistencies in our salary payment platform.
“We need the government to do the needful and step up to pay our three years areas of minimum wage,” Ajibade said.
However, the Chairman, Food, Beverage and Tobacco Senior Staff Association, (FOBTOB) Nestlé branch, Mr Salaudeen Olalekan urged the government to continue to improve security for the betterment of the masses.
“We need the Federal Government to continue to improve the state of security in the country to promote peace and unity among citizens,” he said.