By Our Correspondent
Nigerian workers under the umbrella of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) have declared that N30,000 minimum wage is too meagre and called on the National Assembly members to cut down their pay.
The unions said everyone was aware that things were hard, adding that the removal of fuel subsidy had caused serious hardship on Nigerians, especially workers.
This came up when the Senate yesterday beat the NLC and TUC one week ultimatum for a parley towards resolving the effects of the fuel subsidy removal on Nigerians by the federal government.
The Senate President Godswill Akpabio led some principal officers of the Red Chamber, to receive the NLC and the TUC leaders.
NLC president, Comrade Joe Ajero, said the meeting was important, following the need for the legislative arm of the government to intervene in the discussions between labour unions and the executive arm of the government towards ameliorating the sufferings of Nigerians due to the fuel subsidy removal.
Ajaero said, Distinguished Senate President sir, we are here to appeal for your support in intervening between labour union discussions and the federal government.
“As representatives of the people, I’m sure you feel the pains of the people you represent. Our members are suffering, owing to the laziness of the federal government to implement the palliatives it rolled out to cushion the effects of the oil subsidy removal on Nigerians.
“The wages of the workers should be looked at with more urgency. Every one of us here knows that the minimum wage of N30,000 is too meager to carry someone through in the country, so that has to be changed as quickly as possible”, he said.
On his part, TUC president, Festus Osifo, appealed to the Senate to cut down on their earnings as a show of respect and sacrifice, for the sake of the survival of the people they are representing, who groan in difficulties.
He recounted how his friend, one Musa, who lives in Mararaba, a suburb of Abuja leaves house by 5am every work day to trek for a while before entering public transport, with a view to reducing the transport cost on him yet he earns N30,000 as minimum wage.
Osifo urged the legislative branch to, as a matter of urgency “ do the needful, so that they can earn the people’s confidence to avoid the ‘we and them’ situation.”
In his response, Akpabio assured them of NASS readiness to partner with the labour unions to proffer lasting solutions to the perennial trade disputes in the country, through the enactment of laws that would assuage the plight of workers and Nigerians.
Akpabio thanked the labour unions for their understanding of the predicament of “our government which is just two months old and faced with a lot of challenges”, even as he promised that the government would work assiduously to ameliorate the situation.