Workers under the umbrella of All Workers Convergence (AWC), have enjoined leaders of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC), and other sister organisations not to accept anything less than thirty thousand naira (N30,000) as the minimum wage for workers in the country.
AWC National Coordinator, Comrade Andrew Emelieze, in a statement made available to DAILY POST on Sunday in Ibadan, the Oyo state capital while urging Nigerians to support labour unions in their quest for the new minimum wage, however, appealed to medical workers to attend to people with health challenges while the proposed strike lasted.
Emelieze, who said that it was clear that the government was not ready to pay the new minimum wage also accused the government for acting “like a terrorist that, suppressing the people in all directions.”
He added that despite the purported industrial court injunction, the labour will still go ahead with the proposed strike because the injunction has been negated by the people.
Emelieze who argued that the injunction cannot hold because it has been nullified by Nigerians, also urged military and para-military officers to join the union, NLC, TUC and other labour organisations in the strike billed to commence on Tuesday. L
Read the AWC Coordinator’s full statement below.
“It is now very clear to everyone that the Nigerian government is not ready to pay her workers a living wage. The unfolding events surrounding the agitation for a new national minimum wage in Nigeria confirms the unwillingness of our government to give the Nigerian workers their rights. The whole drama in the quest for a wage review has been that of intrigues, more of a game and a deliberate attempt by the Nigerian ruling class to torment and torture the Nigerian workers.
“Our government has been acting like a terrorist, suppressing the people in all directions. Rather than reason with labour leaders, government is always coming up with unpopular gestures to frustrate the Nigerian workers ; at a time it was the governors who spear headed the confusion, at another time it was the minister of labour Dr Chris Ngige, subsequently, the idea of no work no pay was employed and of late a court order intended to frustrate the November 6th indefinite national strike. So far , all attempts by government to frustrate labour has failed. The recent court order will also fail. This is so because labour has taken our government to the people’s court and it supersedes every other court in Nigeria. In fact, the people’s court is the final arbiter of justice and the Nigerian people shall decide on the 6th of November.
“The industrial court order cannot hold as the pronouncement has been nullified by the Nigerian people. Labour will go ahead with the strike. As a matter of facts, government cannot pretend not to know that the struggle has been taken over by the Nigerian people. What government fail to realise is that the November 6th indefinite national strike is more than a strike for a wage increase, it is a protest against mass poverty and hunger in the land, unemployment, insecurity, and poor economy. It is also a protest against the pensioners plight, corruption, poor infrastructure and general bad governance across the federation.
“Unfortunately for government, all their unwholesome gestures only succeed in provoking the Nigerian masses the more, it further exposes government’s incompetence, wickedness and a government that believes that workers must suffer.
“Surprisingly, despite the compromise initiative by labour to step down her demands from 66,500 naira living wage and eventually demanding for a meagre 30,000 naira minimum wage; our so called government is still saying that they cannot pay. In all these, our government is making a strong statement to the Nigerian Workers and people that they are different from us and that they only have the exclusive rights to the good life while the rest of us must continue to live in penury and continue to beg them before anything good can come our way.
“Our government is telling us that Nigeria is divided between their world and ours, that Nigeria is now class conscious, and that they are the rulers while we the workers are the ruled. Funny enough, they are using every means to sustain and maintain the class division. As a matter of state policy , government concern has been on how to make a few persons very rich and the vast majority extremely poor; perhaps, that explains the reasons by government to intentionally keep workers wage very low. Hence, the Nigerian workers must have to go through endless struggles just to actualize a mere 30,000 naira minimum wage, which off course is still classified as a very poor and repressive wage. What a shame to our rulers.
“It is a good thing that our labour centres have realised that our government is deceiving the Nigerian workers over the demands for a new minimum wage .Therefore, the steps taken by labour for an indefinite national strike starting from 6th November is welcomed and appreciated by the Nigerian workers and the vast majority of the Nigerian populace. It must be stated that workers are no commodities to be priced the way government has engaged issues so far. We the Nigerian workers are not beggars, we are making legitimate demands.
“Government cannot continue to pretend that in the past three years, they are not aware of the increases in the cost of living, petroleum products, electricity tariff, the devaluation of our national currency and the recent recession, yet workers wage has remain the same. Moreso, even government is increasing her budget, schools fees are being increased, same with INEC budget yet salaries remain stagnant. The Nigerian workers therefore call for more public support and solidarity towards the realisation of the workers objectives. We all must also realise that government’s resistance to the demands of the Nigerian workers is simply a call for a collective mass action against a government that is loosing grip of legitimacy. It is equally a call for the liberation of the Nigerian workers from a government who believes that workers must at all times be exploited. Nigerians must also know that the national strike called by labour is a call to duty to all citizens of Nigeria to rescue Nigeria from class division.
“It is a call for a revolution and an end to slavery. Our government has said that they won’t increase our pay so we should do what so ever we can do, forgetting that workers have the final say. Our government is inviting rebellion, we the Nigerian workers must embrace it in order to redeem our nation, end class discrimination and enthrone a people’s government that socially equalise the society and enthrone a social economy devoid of discrimination. It is to this end that the All Workers Convergence ( AWC ) call on all Nigerian workers, civilians, the military and para-military to fully support the 6th November strike. It is the Nigerian people’s declaration. If we dare to struggle, we shall win.
“November 6th is a clarion call, the Nigerian workers are called upon to act for posterity and secure our future. The time to act is now, our ruling class cannot change, we must change them. Posterity is watching us all, lets collectively guarantee a good future for coming generations. We will not labour in vain. The Nigerian workers have suffered enough. Arise Nigerians and fight for your tomorrow.
“It is also the demand of the Nigerian workers that our labour centres, the Nigerian Labour Congress ( NLC ), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the United Labour Congress (ULC) should not call off the strike without recourse to the workers congress .
“We the Nigerian workers also make a strong appeal to our labour centres to allow medical personnel attend to people with health challenges within the strike period. Labour is called upon not to accept anything less than N30, 000 naira minimum wage.
“It is equally very important for labour to kick start a renewed political education to the masses towards governance in Nigeria. Labour must also be prepared in anticipation for a system change.
“Finally, we the Nigerian workers have given our labour leaders full backing and we are ready to move from the barricades to the trenches in order to actualize our objectives.
“We have made a declaration and it is a mandate of action, that of freedom, revolution and a system change. We the Nigerian people have a mandate to swoop on Aso Rock villa Abuja and all state government houses across the federation. Together we shall march on to victory. No retreat no surrender. Forward ever, backward never.
“Lets mobilise ourselves, our destiny is in our hands and together we shall end the regime of oppression, primitive accumulation of wealth and enthrone a peoples government. Lets all continue to encourage ourselves and ensure that every Nigerian worker reads and adopt our collective people’s declaration to end class division in Nigeria. We will occupy the streets together and shut down years of hostility against the Nigerian workers. On 30,000 naira minimum wage we stand, no going back. The AWC call for full participation of all workers, the civil society and all socialist groups.”