By AUSTIN OWOICHO, Abuja
Tired of waiting for new minimum wage, a group, AWC has appealed to labour unions to declare a national strike on July 2 to drive home their point.
The appeal is contained in a statement dated Monday June 25, 2018, signed by the National Coordinator ( AWC ), Emelieze Andrew, which a copy was made available to our correspondent via mail.
“To this end, We the Nigerian workers call on the Nigerian Labour Congress ( NLC ), Trade Union Congress ( TUC ), United Labour Congress ( ULC ), Civil society groups and the Nigerian workers to show understanding and solidarity in the 2nd July one day sit at home, one day national warning strike . This we believe shall make government take us serious,” it stated.
In the statement titled: ‘2ND JULY 2018 NATIONAL STRIKE OVER THE NEW NATIONAL MINIMUM WAGE : AN APPEAL LETTER TO THE NLC/TUC/ULC , CIVIL SOCIETY AND THE NIGERIAN WORKERS FOR UNDERSTANDING AND SOLIDARITY’ the group frowned at government’s insincerity in addressing the minimum wage issue.
“We the Nigerian workers are continually pained and dehumanised by our working relations which has endlessly exploited us and put us in a condition of infinite misery. Our employers treat us as conquered people that can be put in any situation. We no longer count in the scheme of things neither are we considered as citizens nor human that matters.
“Our lives are gravitated and most times fades like the twin light to dusk. Life has been made meaningless and sometimes worthless. The Nigerian worker is now a shadow of itself,a laughing stock, sorrowful and dejected.
“Before our very eyes,we see our wealth wasted away.We labour almost in vain. In all these,our government don’t seem to care.They further our agony with discriminative policies like the delibrate devaluation of our national currency, increase in the price of petroleum products, mopping up of currency etc.Our government has deliberately kept our wage low as advised by their international collaborators. As a matter of fact the Nigerian government is acting as if they are our worst enemies for no good government will be comfortable in the face of noticeable poverty confronting her workers.
“Government’s attitude towards her workers has shown that they don’t believe in productivity neither do they believe in creativity nor progress.Most unfortunately, we have a government that believes workers must be poor, God forbid, if not why must prisoners allowance be more than the national minimum wage ? why won’t government agree with labour to pay the new minimum wage which is less than one percent of our President’s salary ? ; truly our government is lacking in conscience. All these must stop. It is our future that is at stake, it is our tomorrow that is endangered. However we look at it, we all have a tomorrow that we are all responsible to and must give account to.
“The time to act is now.No responsible government will set up a salary review committee since November 2017 last year and is still sitting up till June this year without any specific terminal date, only for one of its Ministers to unilaterally announce to the public that government may not be able to pay as promised in September 2018.We the Nigerian workers will not accept this relegation to the background. We shall not continue to live in the face of uncertainty.
“We the Nigerian workers have been abused enough.We shall no longer tolerate this injustice. We are not beggars . Enough of the game over the minimum wage. We will demand for our legitimate dues.We can no longer cope with the slavish poor wage.We are tired of engaging in other menial jobs outside office hours inorder to subsidise for our employers.
“Let no one be deceived, our government has the capacity to pay the new minimum wage as presented by our labour centres ,engaging in such rhetorics will amount to begging the question . We therefore, support all the demands of our labour centres on the new national minimum wage.We agree with our leaders that implementation should commence from August 2018 and we take exceptions to any attempt to paint our leaders badly as seen in the recent unilateral declaration by the Minister of Labour that minimum wage is no longer feasible in September 2018.
“This is a clarion call to all people of good will to reason with the suffering Nigerian workers as our government has proven to us that they will only accede to our demands if and only if we agitate.
“As a poor paid worker our minds are made up. We shall sit at home on Monday 2nd July 2018. All Nigerian workers shall sit at home as a matter of duty in protest against poor wage and the degrading living condition of the Nigerian workers and their families. We have made our choice and there is no going back.
“Workers are called upon to put up surveillance groups and ensure the closure of all governmental institutions and offices nation wide except for those on essential services.
We the Nigerian workers call on the God of labour to take charge and frustrate any antagonist to this protest
“Great Nigerian workers, our destiny is in our hands. Let us prove to ourselves that we are 1,Actually feeling the bite of a poor wage system.
2, That the cost of living is unbearable .
3, That we have a responsibility towards our families and the future.
4.That the new wage will also reflect on the unemployed, the pensioners and the Nigerian society at large.
5.That as citizens we have fundamental human rights that must be respected and that we have the rights to protest against our debasing conditions of living.
“Great Nigerian workers, we will not wait for any other further directives. Let us all sit at home on Monday 2nd July 2018. We all have the responsibility to ensure compliance and success.
“Let us begin to mobilise and sensitive ourselves. Copy , print and paste , duplicate and share every where until it is read by every Nigerian worker .
“Greetings to all Nigerian workers. The new minimum wage is attainable. We shall all sing the songs of victory in the end. Our labour shall not be in vain. God help us all, Amen.”