Barely 10days to the October 16 proposed national strike by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress, (TUC), High Chief Kehinde Kalejaiye, Head of Otumara, Apapa road, Ojo-Oniyun and its environs at a gathering recently in Lagos said embarking on a nationwide strike at this critical stage of Nigeria’s economy portends great danger for the economy and the wellbeing of Nigerians.
High Chief Kalejaiye at the event submitted that rather than the Labour union down tooling over non-implementation of the N30, 000 new minimum wage and the proposed percentage pay rise for levels 7 and 15, the NLC/TUC and the federal government should fashion out ways at checking wastage, cutting down recurrent expenditure and redundancy in the workforce.
He noted that the country’s large workforce and over-bloated salaries and running cost of government are contributory factors to Federal and State governments inability to pay the proposed minimum workers’ wage which is less than $100 in a month.
He observed that States like Ekiti and Kaduna have made their intentions to pay the N30, 000 minimum wage known; he said, “The workforce of every country is the fulcrum on which economy prosperity depends.
They work night and day to ensure that the government works but in spite of this, the reward for their efforts do not justify their sweat. Why should Nigerian workers work like elephants and eat like ants?
Why is the federal government unable to pay the minimum wage and the suggested increase for the senior cadre while elected politicians particularly Senators and House of Representatives members are paid over-bloated salaries and allowances every month?
For heaven sake, the country’s parliamentarians work part-time and they should be paid as such. It is time we address the issue of the overblown salaries and allowances for Senators and House of Representatives members for the conditions of Nigerian workers to improve.
This imbalance must be checked for Nigeria’s economy to run smoothly. Salaries and allowances of legislature must be cut and importantly, the elective positions must be make less attractive.
The Federal government cannot be spending more on recurrent expenditures while capital projects are underfunded.”
While commenting on idleness and overblown staff strength of the government, High Chief Kalejaiye said, “I will not subscribe to the federal government paying idle workers. Every worker must earn what he/she is paid as a wage.
It is a known fact that the country’s civil service is overblown and require an adjustment. If the Ministry of Labour is saying it will need to retrench to enable it cope with the payment of proposed salary increase, I expect the NLC to sit at a roundtable, weigh the truth in the claim and discuss a way around this.
Going on strike should not be an option considering the extent of poverty Nigerians are currently battling. If the economy is not that buoyant to pay the minimum wage, with percentage cut in the salaries and allowances of the 109 Senators and 360 members of the House of Representatives, the issue will be resolved. With this done, the FG should be able to pay.”