Workers' day and the Nigerian Worker

By Nwokoma Izuchukwu on 01/05/2018

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International Workers Day, Labour Day or Workers's Day in the case of Nigeria and some African countries, is an annual observance celebrated every May 1 to remember the valuable sacrifices and contributions made by workers around the globe.

In Nigeria, the day is ushered in by a Public Holiday which allows the Nigerian worker  celebrate the day alongside counterparts scattered around the globe. As part of activities to spice up the day, workers in Nigeria converge at stadias all over the country to commemorate the  holiday. 

The Holiday is a sine qua non as well as a recognized one all workers must observe irrespective of grade level, religious inclinations and others. 

Part of activities that make the day memorable and endearing for workers, is the traditional address by the president of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), an umbrella organization for trade unions in Nigeria which sees to the welfare of  Nigerian workers.

Regrettably, the day is no longer heralded by the usual fun-fare cum excitement that workers exhibited in the 1970s, 80s, 90s and early 2000's which saw them receive improved salaries and at the nick of time too - that is, before the May day celebration proper.

Today, things are no longer at ease with  Nigerian workers because they  have been relegated to the background ensuing from poor remuneration, nonpayment of backlog of salaries in the case of civil servants in some States of the federation, payment of peanuts as salaries among other reasons.

The enthusiasm that will see a worker arrive at his/her desk before the commencement of work has been completely  outlawed, workers because they are no longer happy to answer civil servants indulge in other businesses to keep their families afloat while using the civil service job as a hobby or a place of secondary assignment.

In some States, civil servants are owed 8 to 7 months, teachers 8 months, local government workers 5 to 4 months among others. With this situation at hand, why would anyone blame a worker for not coming to work early? Why would anyone talk about biometric exercise when after capturing, salaries are not paid. What a carricature of our system.

What about the case of pensioners in some states of the federation who rendered selfless services to the government for thirty five years? Some of them have been called names in different states ranging from "dead wood" among other derogatory names. In some states, pensioners are assembled almost on monthly basis to indulge in one verification exercise or the other, and after the verification exercise it turns out to be another exercise in futility.

In the face of all these, pensioners continue to die in large numbers due to nonpayment of backlog of pensions and gratuity leaving many civil servants who are still active in service wondering what their fates would be on retirement which equally promotes falsification of age among civil servants.

As Nigerian workers join their counterparts around the globe to celebrate this day, it is the belief of the Nigerian worker that issues bothering on poor remuneration, nonpayment of backlog of salaries among others be addressed. It will be worthwhile as well as gladden the heart of civil servants if Federal government should use this observance to announce the new minimum wage of N56,000 for the Nigerian worker.

On the other hand, since some state governors are having issues paying the N18, 000 minimum wage to her workforce, how then will they pay the proposed N56,000 minimum wage? Without sanctioning this, I will say that the right time to put laughter on the faces of the Nigerian worker and change their fortunes is now, a situation where everything in the market inflates while the salary of the Nigerian worker remains static is absurd as well as a travesty.

God bless the Nigerian worker for the valuable sacrifices and contributions they are rendering in rebranding and repositioning Nigeria to the path of greatness.

Happy Workers Day Celebration, Nigerian Worker!

Nwokoma Izuchukwu wrote in from Umuahia


Source Whirlwindnews

Posted on May, 1 2018

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