Stories by Bimbola Oyesola, 08033246177
Organised Labour has commended President Muhammad Buhari for lambasting the state governors who are still owing the workers despite several bailouts.
At a separate events, the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) and National Union of Textile Garments and Tailoring Workers of Nigerian (NUTGTWN), said the president has shown a rare value by telling governors the gospel truth on how he feels about their failure to pay salaries and pensions despite the interventions of the Federal Government.
The TUC also floored some state governors for asking for the release of 50 per cent of the Paris Club loan refund, even when they cannot account for the tranches already released to them.
The TUC lamented the plight of workers in the states and the need for urgent attention as many could barely survive.
“For us president Muhammadu Buhari was right when he expressed surprise on how some governors manage to sleep soundly when workers have not been paid their salaries for months. The president even wondered how the workers feed their families; pay their rents and the school fees of their children”, the TUC said.
President of TUC, Bobboi Bala Kaigama said that the Congress believes the president asked these vital questions because he still has his conscience intact, noting that most of the nation’s political leaders have sold out their conscience.
He said, They don’t feel our pains neither do their children and cronies. What is N18, 000 (Eighteen thousand naira) when juxtaposed with the prevailing economic realities in the country? It is a pity our governors prefer statues of foreigner to our health, children’s education, job creation and other meaningful activities that help build a strong society”, he lamented.
He stated that the confidence Nigerians had when this administration was coming on board has gradually waned.
He added, “We believe in the president but he alone cannot do it. Efforts to fight corruption have become a mirage. Experts have argued that one way recession can be addressed is when the wage of workers is increased; unfortunately the last wage increase we had was in 2011. Though due for review but some forces who take delight in using our children as political thugs have refused. They want the status-quo to remain- (master-servant relationship). They tell us that the economy is in recession yet it does not affect them.”
The TUC leadership charged the Federal Government to hold on to the money until the workers and pensioners are fully paid.
“The governors are stock-piling the released fund somewhere waiting for 2019 election campaign, but we are going to surprise them. It is not going to be business as usual”, he said.
The General Secretary of the NUTGTWN, Issa Aremu said it was laughable that the government could get the effrontery to approach the president for another bailout when all they have received in the past were not used for the purpose it were meant for.
The labour leaders speaking at the 29th Annual National Education Conference of the National Union of Textile Garment and Tailoring Workers (NUTGTWN) of Nigeria in Sokoto last week said Nigeria’s case has become that of one-day one-trouble-kind of.
“Only last week some ministers made case for No Work No Pay doctrine. Their argument was that they want to check the public service workers in the country. Just imagine: how do you tell a worker that has not been paid for six months to continue to borrow to fare himself or herself to job? How do you explain it that a country that is broke still pays twitter lawmakers over N29m on a monthly basis. This is inhuman, wicked, derogatory and devilish”, he said.
Aremu who is also the Vice President of the IndustriALL Global said the government should endeavour to pay the workers all they had worked for before trying to enforce the no work no pay doctrine.
He maintained that the governors should be seen supporting the federal government in reviving the economy and this could be done by paying their workers their wages.
“The workers are the consumers, if they are not paid where would they get the money to buy finished products from our industries. It is only when our factories thrive that the economy can rebound. The workers are the one that support the artisans and other sectors of the economy, the importance of a living wage paid as at when due cannot be over emphasised.