What We Expect From Incoming Nigerian Government -Workers

….Workers are tired earning wage but becoming poorer  

As Nigerians hope for a better living condition under the administration of a new president starting from May 29, decent work and a living wage tops workers’ expectations. CHRISTIAN APPOLOS, bring excepts

Comrade Nuhu Toro, Secretary General of Trade Union Congress of Nigeria: Government must prioritise payment of a living wage.

“A living wage is very important to the livelihood of the Nigerian workers and their family. Often time people look at a worker as an individual but the livelihood of a worker goes beyond him or her self because it extends to the family. The wage a worker earn in a month has multiple use and impact. Therefore government should start seeing a worker as a tree with many branches, whose monthly earning contributes in no small measure to maintain peace in the society and sustains the economy of the country. 

“The fact that government apparently refuses to prioritise provision of living wage is because government chooses to be blind to the importance of living wage. Today in Nigeria what we call minimum wage is grossly inadequate If you look at the value of goods and service in the market. It is obvious that Nigeria’s government N30,000 approved minimum wage is worthless and of no values to the market prices of goods and services. As at today, when you minus a worker’s transportation and daily feeding from the N30,000 minima wage, you realize that a worker cannot afford to feed or take care of his or her dependents. And this is why we clamour for a living wage. 

“With this reality in mind, we as trade union organizations expects the incoming government not to wait for us to protest before it embark on  policies that facilitates a better living wage for workers. No one need to be told the positive triple effect of workers earning living wage. A living wage for workers is a chain reaction that work wonders to the economic and general wellbeing of a nation. 

“We also need to note that living wage can only be beneficial when government regulate price of good s and service. With the current inflation and skyrocketing price of goods and services, even if minimum wage is increased today to whatever amount, workers will still be at a disadvantage position. So to start with, incoming Nigeria government must find a way to ensure that prices of basic commodities like petroleum and the likes are affordable. 

“This is why workers have a duty to rethink on who should be in the helm of affairs of Nigeria. Because leader who understands and cares about the welfare if workers will surely pursue policies that will be of benefit to workers and citizens at large. So workers need to vote for leaders that can fight corruption because provision of workers welfare is mostly hindered by corruption. When because of corruption resources are scarce, there won’t be funds available to pay a decent wage to workers. 

“It is unfortunate that what workers are paid in Nigeria is salve wage not a living wage. So this is why we are calling on the incoming government of Nigeria to prioritize paying living wage to workers.

“Therefore the priority for a living wage for workers should go beyond announcing a certain figure of minimum wage to paying a living wage to workers without making issues of it.”

Mr Collins Olayinka, labour analyst: Wages paid to workers  in Nigeria are ridiculous.

“Employment and living wage, also known as decent wage are the best things any citizens would love to have. In Nigeria it is a double tragedy because there is high rate unemployment level and most workers are paid depressing wage. Wages paid to workers in Nigeria are ridiculous  and among the lowest in the West Africa sub region.

“Also it is really depressing to talk about living wage in Nigeria today. This is because it is disheartening that both Federal and State governments complain about paying a miserable sum of N30,000 national minimum wage a figure that is below what most private sector employers pays. And it’s laughable that many state governors have refused to pay the minimum wage, claiming not having money to implement 30,000 Naira minimum wage which is below $50.

“If somebody goes to work for 30 days and you pay him or her below $50 and the fellow has wife, a child and doesn’t own a house, from where will he pay for his house rent, his child school fees, transport himself to work weekly, feed himself, the wife and the child. So, you see we’re in a cul de sac, where nothing seem to work. Therefore it is time for Federal and State governments in Nigeria to prioritize payment of a living wage. Look at the reality of economic situation in the country and lay workers a wage that  can sustain them and their families. 

“Building bridges and roads are good development projects, but a decent living of your citizens is even the most important developmental project. Government officials and politicians should knew that they can only live in peace and enjoy the money they amass from public fund if there peace on the land.”

Mr Edmund .O, Documentary expert: Every responsible government must pursue policies that create jobs and pays living wage. 

“All over the world, the issue of wage and employment is always at the front burner. Whether a country’s economy is flourishing or weak, the issue of wage is always important because when people work they expect to earn a wage. So, at any given point in time, this is an issue that will always come up for discussion. 

“Looking at the issue of living wage and employment from the point of national development, without the workforce whether in the public or private sector, there won’t be anything call economy or society. Productivity and production are key to life in any way you want to look at it. Therefore the workforce is a necessity. If you don’t have a workforce, you can’t grow economy, you can’t produce and you actually cannot do anything. So as the workforce drives the economy, their motivation is wage and that wage should be sustainable. 

“Workers deserve living wage. We should also take into cognizance that each worker has dependents; citizens of the country that wage sustains. Whence in Nigeria government hardly provides society security net for the unemployed, you need not be told the implications continue in the path of not paying living wage  to workers. Political stability in recent time in Nigeria is evidence of what May come. Banditry, Boko Haram, kidnapping etc are already here. 

“Imagine that majority of the people who have made the above listed crime behavior a way of life, are working and earning living wage, the reverse will surely be the case. So if you tie all of these together, you begin to understand that the clamour for a living wage or proper renumeration is not displaced.  

“A responsible government must understand and appreciate the fact that production is key to a sustainable economy and that if the workforce are not well remunerated, the result is always disastrous.

So employment, living wage and production are very key. Therefore every responsible government must always come up with policies that pursues stability and harmony of its country by providing employment opportunities and living wage for it citizens.

Chief Emenike UBANI, Senior Lecturer: Living Wage and Decent work are elixir to a decent human society. 

“The importance of living wage and decent work cannot be over emphasised. Especially in this era of economic crisis caused by COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and other factors, provision of decent work and payment of living wage are among the best policy plan a serious government should pursue to sustain its economy and maintain a peaceful society. Another one like this two is provision of social security net. 

“To be brief, the positive chain reaction  effect of paying workers living wage is strong purchase power, more consumption of goods and service, more production, employment opportunities, tax for government and economic growth of a country. Even without workers demanding or protesting for it, a government that want to development its country and by extension the economic wellbeing of it citizens need not be told that decent work and living wage is sacrosanct to achieving it. 

“So incase both the federal and state governments in Nigeria doesn’t know the gains the provision of decent work and payment of living wage offers to the socioeconomic development of a country, they should inquire today and begin a walk in this direction because the benefits are huge.  

Chuks Nzeh, Civi Society Activist:Living wage motivate workers

“Living wage is what motivates the workers to strive towards attaining productivity. Living wage no doubt enhances the well being of citizens and economic growth  of a country. Therefore paying living wage and provision of decent jobs are the best developmental stride the incoming administration should prioritize for the purpose of ensuring peaceful and viable Nigeria as a country. Workers are looking forward to it. They are tired earning wage but being poorer.

“Therefore, it is expected of the incoming government to take a total shift from the mentality of not prioritizing workers welfare to making it the first among most important policy. Government must begin to make targeted efforts to reduce the level of poor and suffering of workers. Investing in workers welfare by paying a living wage and provision of social security a path that will lead to better days in every facet of Nigeria’s economic and development.”

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