Ali Abare, Gombe
As the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) marks its 40th anniversary, a former Head of Service of the Federation, Alhaji Yayale Ahmed, has cautioned workers against demanding what he termed ‘unreasonable minimum wage’.
Ahmed made the call, on Thursday, while delivering a speech as chairman of the 40th anniversary of the NLC in Gombe.
He said that though the workers are justified to agitate for better emoluments, they should also recognise that resources are limited.
“Government must be able to balance the need to take care of the welfare of workers as well as the need to develop the country and states,” he said.
While recommending for a “reasonable take home package”, the former HOSF, however, warned that there was the need also to ensure that workers are skilled, trained and efficient or money spent on them could turn out to be a waste of resources.
He noted that at 40, the union has come of age and was expected to demonstrate a sense of maturity in its conduct.
Speaking also at the event, Governor Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo, said the labour has through its struggles engineered positive changes in the country.
Represented by his deputy, Charles Iliya, the governor commended the NLC for impacting positively towards improving the self-esteem and socio-political consciousness of the people.
Governor Dankwambo particularly commended the labour leaders in the state for the cordial relationship with government, assuring that his administration would continue to support the NLC in its genuine struggle to improve the well-being of workers as well as contribute positively to the socio-economic development of the state.
The governor described the theme of the anniversary, “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow” as being apt, as according to him, it enables the NLC to reflect on its past struggles, appreciate the present challenges and work towards a better future.
Earlier in his welcome address, state chairman of the NLC, Comrade Haruna Kamara said the union is presently facing numerous challenges as shown by the non payment of salaries, pension and gratuities for workers in the country.
Kamata decried that even now, 12 states are still owing workers salary ranging from 5 to 12 months, with some other states still paying salaries in percentages while others are yet to implement the N18, 000 minimum wage.
As part of the celebration, the NLC earlier on secured the release of 23 inmates at the Gombe Main Prison, donated relief materials to the prison inmates as well as visited the Gombe Specialist Hospital where the union donated children and maternity items including 23 cartons of sanitary pads, powdered milk, detergents among others.
Other activities lining up the event include, presentation of award to deserving members, with the Gombe State Head of Service, Alhaji Adamu Haruna among the awardees.
Lectures from the Gombe State University are expected to deliver lectures on Friday, with the event culminating with a dinner and gala night.