Monday, May 1, has been declared public holiday by Nigerian government to enable workers celebrate 2017 Workers’ Day and hold rallies.
Minister of Interior, Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazzau (rtd), announced the declaration of the public holiday, on Friday.
He congratulated Nigerian workers for their resilience, hard work and commitment to the present administration despite current challenges.
The minister also urged them to continue to support President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Director, Office of the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Interior, Alhaji Muhammadu Maccido, made the announcement in a statement on Friday.
Some of the labour leaders in Lagos on Friday called for the fast-tracking of discussions on the minimum wage.
Speaking to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) they said the continuous delay in discussing and recommending payment of a new minimum wage would not augur well for industrial harmony.
Secretary General, Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN), Mr Bashir Lawal, said that reaching a quick agreement on the issue was paramount.
“The delay, apart from worsening the economic well-being of Nigerians, particularly the workers, Industrial peace and harmony cannot be guaranteed,” he said.
According to him, there is no doubt that workers are going through economic difficulties but expressed optimism that they would rejoice whenever discussions on the minimum wage were concluded.
“There is no gain saying the fact that workers are going through very difficult times. We have made representations severally to the government on this issue.
“ We are hopeful that something positive will happen to our Take-Home-Pay, as soon as the Minimum Wage Negotiating Committee concludes its assignment,’’ he said.
President, National Union of Food, Beverage and Tobacco Employees (NUFBTE), Mr Lateef Oyelekan, also called for the hastening of discussions.
According to Lateef, a review of the wage will serve as compensation to workers who have prayed ceaselessly for the quick recovery of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“Many Nigerian workers prayed for the President when he was indisposed. Now that he is back, we are hopeful that he will consider their plight,’’ he said.
Oyelekan also suggested that states governments be pressurized to pay any amount that would be agreement on.
He said it was regrettable that almost a year after bailout funds were released, some of the states still owed workers salary arrears of six to 10 months.
“Today, a worker with four children can no longer send them to school, feed and cater for the family needs because his or her income (N18,000) is inadequate,’’ he said.
Oyelekan however commended the Federal Government for releasing Foreign Exchange to boost production, adding that many companies were already going comatose because for lack of forex