2019:TUC greets Nigerians, says N30k Minimum wage non negotiable


The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) is again eternally grateful to the Almighty God for His munificence and of course Nigerians for their unparallel sacrifice in their quest for a new Nigeria. Your contribution is responsible for the peace and little progress we enjoy as a people. We cannot forget in a hurry the issues that led to the Arab spring that claimed many lives.  It suffices to state here that as a country we have demonstrated godliness and maturity in handling our challenges, beating the imagination of individuals and countries around the world. When we put all these together one cannot but applaud your tolerance. We have all done well and it is praise worthy.
Truth be told, in the last one year we had some good and some bad experiences. We quite appreciate governments at all level for some crucial steps taken but we must fail to state here that the organized labour is not happy. The reason for our unhappiness is not far-fetched. The work force has further shrunk at a time countries are employing more unfortunately all cries for help have fell deaf ears. The labour movement is never carried along on issues that deplete our number. Millions of jobs have been lost because of government’s policies.  We have lost hundreds of lives of sacked co-workers who could not absorb the shock of losing their jobs. On a weekly basis if not daily we lose our senior citizens (pensioners). They are subjected to regular verification exercise and sadly many of them have collapsed at centres and died. What a life! What about the brain drain, unemployment/crime, lack of basic fundamental infrastructure required to stimulate the economy?
Sometimes we wonder if our politicians still have the milk of kindness left in them. Our plight is a dehumanizing one and probably only better than that of war-torn countries. It is even economical to say so because the likes of Rwanda, Togo and a host of others are making imperative progress. How do we explain it, that in the midst of the grueling condition of Nigerians governors have refused to pay salaries and execute projects even though they have collected Paris-fund in tranches and shared proceeds from NLNG; instead they are buying hotels and properties abroad. Most benumbing is the fact that agencies saddled with the responsibility of handling corruption cases appear to be looking the other way, while the workers and masses suffer. The Federal Government has not played its fatherly role as most of these governors visit Aso Rock regularly. One wonders what they discuss! We are all stakeholders in the Nigerian project and not pawns. Our lives must count like that of politicians, their family members and cronies.
Similarly, it has been over two years now that we have been asking for a wage review which was negotiated when the US dollar was less than N150. The Federal Government and some governors have refused to heed our peaceful call; instead they claim they have no money to pay. It will be recalled that South Africa recently increased wage to N120, 000 monthly. We had thought this administration was going to be different but we were absolutely wrong.
How could the federal government think of constituting another committee over a wage that had been negotiated by the Tripartite Committee it set up? A committee that had no less than six governors! This is unfathomable and shameful. Varsity and Polytechnic lecturers have down tools now for months and meetings scheduled by government have met with brick wall. Why? Could it be that it is because their children are not schooling here? Why would government sign an agreement and refuse to implement it? The argument of some is that it was the previous administration that entered into the agreement. Fine, but what about the recent N30, 000 minimum wage agreement reached with this particular government? Tell me of any country that toys with the education of citizenries and I will tell that country that would never be developed. Most electronics we spend billions of naira to import from China, Japan, India, Malaysia, etc are mere experimentations of technical schools. Our own technical schools have gone into extinction. Politicians call the youth leaders of tomorrow yet unwilling to equip them for the task ahead. One wonders why almost everything about us as a people is wrong: it is only in Nigeria people pay for services that they did not use. The power sector is a case in point.  We wish to once again commend and condole with the military for their effort to protect the territorial integrity of the country and the officers they have lost since the fight against insurgency began. However, we have read in some national dailies the secret confessions of some soldiers blaming the military authorities for not providing weapons sophisticated enough to match the sects. Well, all they have said may not be totally true but we also know that there is no smoke without fire. Our point is if individuals and groups can bring in arms as claimed by the Nigerian Customs Services why is it a herculean task for Nigeria to order for arms to curb the activities of these killers?  Our soldiers win laurels in other countries but are ambushed and killed by untrained group. We urge the Federal Government and the military authority to do the needful. And beyond that, the entitlement of deceased officers should be paid to their families while the welfare of those in the battlefield be well taken care of.In conclusion, we want to urge all politicians to espouse the spirit of sportsmanship in the forthcoming elections. It is important to corroborate the statement of the immediate past president Dr. Goodluck Jonathan who said “His ambition does not worth the blood of anybody” We charge Nigerians to be wiser this time. Those arming your children have theirs abroad. No ambition of any politician truly worths the blood of a goat let alone human beings. What should be paramount to all is to put the country on the path of progress. We must do things differently forthwith if we are serious. Diversify the economy and make all corrupt political officials to face the music, irrespective of their political inclinations. There should be no more soft-landing for anybody who have been found to have looted the country.
Also, we wish to sound it here that the Congress can no longer tolerate government’s deliberate refusal to pay us the N30, 000 national minimum wage as agreed. Mobilisation throughout the country is on already and we should not be blamed for breaching industrial peace. We are voting out irresponsible politicians in the coming elections. OUR WELFARE MUST COUNT, WE ARE NO PAWNS. Happy New Year!
Comrade (Dr.) Bobboi Bala KaigamaPresident, TUC Comrade (Barr.) Musa-Lawal Ozigi, mniSecretary General, TUC

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