Samuel Bello, Abuja
Those in the employ of some private companies especially hotels in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, have a common complaint: Their salaries are being slashed. Unfortunately, there is nothing they can do to reverse the trend.
“We are told to either accept the new salary structure or resign,” Glory Otekpa, a staff of a three-star hotel in Jabi, told Daily Sun. Ironically, in 2017 the staff of the same hotel wrote the management of the hotel threatening to quit their job if there was no upward review of their salaries. Two years after, rather than meet their demand, the meagre salaries they are complaining of are being slashed.
Investigations by Daily Sun reveal even some hotels that were either paying some of their staff N15,000 slashed it to N10,000. Surprisingly, this is coming when the government is pegging the minimum wage at N30,000 for both public and private employers.
An official of a hotel in Wuye who pleaded for anonymity believed that there was nothing wrong with the pay-cut: “The slashing of salaries isn’t about frustrating workers but more of the country’s current economic situation. That led us into slashing salaries by 50 per cent, especially because of the current economic situation in the country.
“Our hotel attendants were being paid between N30,000 and N50,000 two months ago before it was slashed to N25,000. This is because we are not getting good patronage. If an enterprise is not making required returns as at when due, it would affect managerial expenditures.
“So you should understand why we had to take those measures. It is better than letting anyone go irrespective of the fact that they won’t be happy with it. Slashing of salaries is one of those managerial decisions that must be made at some point.”
He claimed that some foreign organisations that are into online marketing and hospitality service, have hijacked the running of hotels in Abuja. Tobi Maxwell, entrepreneur, said: “I have a business in Area 11 and live in Gwarimpa village. I spend N5,000 to my office with UBER and I have decided to start lodging at Area 11 for N15,000 per night and it started telling on my profit and I had to look for alternatives.
“I decided to see if Nigerians have started using AirBnB and I got an apartment for N50,000 per month in Sun City, Lokogoma, for a three bedroom. I wanted just a room, so the owner decided to charge me N30,000 for one bedroom with access to unlimited WIFI and electricity without bill, plus security gateman I can send on errands inclusive with the package for a month.
“A lot of people do not know about AirBnB and they need to know because the amount I spend to get two nights in hotels is what got me a month stay in AirBnB apartment. If you don’t have an international passport and facial identification, you cannot register on the platform.
“It is not that safe for the person thinking he is doing the identification and dropping passport, but based on the economic situation, it’s better for him to rely on that. Normally, it took a lot of time for people to adjust to accommodating themselves in boys quarters in private homes. Now it has been embraced by both the people staying and those accommodating.”
It is not only the hospitality sector that is slashing salaries of workers, staff of some other organisations are making similar claims. For instance, a staff of an advertising company claimed that his salary was cut from N100,000 to N40,000. The cut he said was as a result of the dwindling business activities of his company. The worker who didn’t want to be named said: “A lot of things have not been in favour of majority of Abuja residents. That is why some people are committing suicide.”