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Workers’ Day: Tinubu lauds Organised Labour for support, pledges to consider ‘National Living Wage’ over Minimum Wage

Photo Collage of Workers' Day Celebrations, in Abuja, FCT

*Nigerian President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, on the occasion of the 2024 Workers’ Day celebrations, hints at his administration’s readiness to consider a National Living Wage that will address the workers’ living condition, instead of a minimum wage, to reflect the current socio-economic realities in the country

*Leadership is about the people, say NLC, TUC

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has assured the Organised Labour, in Nigeria, that their understanding, patience, commitment and support in the course of implementing his administration’s policies and programmes are not taken for granted.

ConsumerConnect reports President Tinubu, who stated this in his address delivered at the commemoration of this year’s May Day celebrations Wednesday, May 1, 2024, at the Eagle Square, in Abuja, FCT, applauded the Nigerian workers for their contributions to government’s ongoing efforts at resetting the country’s economy.

Tinubu, represented on the colourful occasion by Vice-President Kashim Shettima, described the workforce as “an indispensable component of the nation’s engine”, in the bid to build a just and progressive society.

He also asserted it is a fundamental truth that the workers are Nigeria’s backbone

The Nigerian leader equally  he acknowledged and appreciated their hard work, sacrifices, and contributions to the nation’s stability and prosperity.

Commending the choice of the theme for the 2024 May Day celebration, “People First”, the President noted that the theme not only resonated with his administration’s agenda, but also demonstrated that “the working class holds a central position in the affairs of this nation.”

Delivering the President’s address titled, “Solidarity in Action: Collaborative Governance, Empowered Workers”, VP Shettima stated: “Great Nigerian workers, your role as an indispensable component of the nation’s engine cannot be overstated by any government, if the quest for a just and progressive society is to be realised.

“Therefore, I extend my most heartfelt congratulations to you on this very important celebration.”

The President stated: “I do not take for granted the understanding, patience, commitment, and support you have shown throughout the implementation of this government’s policies and programmes aimed at positively transforming our great nation.

“Your contributions have played a significant role in our efforts to rescue the economy since we came on board.”

Stanley Nkwocha, Senior Special Assistant to The President on Media and Communications (Office of The Vice President), Wednesday stated the 2024 Workers’ Day was marked with high hopes.

The President Tinubu further told the workers that their days of worrying were over.

Tinubu also hinted at his administration’s readiness to consider a national living wage that will address their living condition, instead of a minimum wage, if suggested by the 37-member Tripartite Committee on Minimum Wage set up on January 30, 2024, by the Federal Government.

“The Committee’s mandate was to provide counsel and suggest a national minimum wage that aligns with our current economic conditions.

“Since then, the Committee, in collaboration with labour leaders, has been diligently working towards proposing a new National Minimum Wage,” said the President.

He noted: “Unfortunately, despite concerted efforts, the Committee was unable to reach a consensus at its last meeting.

“This shall be resolved soon and I assure you that your days of worrying are over.

“Indeed, this government is open to the Committee’s suggestion of not just a minimum wage but a living wage.”

The Nigerian President as well recalled that he assumed office May 29 last year, at a time Nigeria, like many other economies, were grappling with what he described as “daunting socio-political and developmental challenges.”

He, however, maintained that his government has been “resolute in confronting these obstacles head-on.”

Tinubu stated: “The scourge of criminality, from banditry to kidnapping and the farmer-herder crises, alongside terrorism, continues to afflict our nation despite the tireless efforts of our armed forces.

“We are aware of the toll this takes on our economy. I assure you: we are fully committed to tackling these security challenges.”

The President, however observed that it would be impossible to “achieve a just and equitable society that caters to the needs of every member, including the strong and the weak, without fostering peace and unity.”

He added that Nigeria’s “shared vision for national growth and development can only be realised in an atmosphere of industrial harmony and peaceful coexistence in every segment” of the country.

Earlier in her remarks at the event, Hon. Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, Minister of State for Labour and Productivity, had reminded the workers that it was the first May Day under President Tinubu.

The Minister noted that the occasion is a reminder “of the great sacrifices made by the working class toward the enthronement of dignity of labour which are key to national growth and development.”

Onyejeocha noted while President Tinubu “believes that every worker deserves to work in an environment free from exploitation, discrimination, and oppression,” the government is “creating workplaces that offer respect, job security and inclusivity for all.”

She also assured the Labour that the Tinubu administration “empathises with the plight of workers and will do all it can to address these issues.”

The Minister urged the Organised Labour “to maintain social dialogue in resolving disputes.”

Likewise in his goodwill message on the May Day, Barr. Nyesom Wike, Honourable Minister for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), pledged the commitment of the FCT administration under his watch to the needs and welfare of workers in the territory.

Wike also affirmed the workers are the backbone of the public service in the area.

According to him, the establishment of the FCT Civil Service Commission is a testament to the administration’s obligation to the welfare of workers in the public service.

The Minister assured them that they would be treated with dignity, respect and fairness.

Comrade Adenike Ajala, a representative of the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), reiterated the commitment of the organisation to the concerns of the Nigerian worker.

Ajala pledged NECA’s resolve to always uphold the principle of collective bargaining in all engagements regarding the wellbeing of workers.

In a joint speech, presidents of Nigeria’s two major labour unions, the Nigerian Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress, maintained that prioritising the welfare of workers and pursuing policies that improve productivity are critical for national development.

NLC President Comrade Joe Ajaero and TUC President Comrade Festus Osifo said, “Leadership is about the people. There is no other measure for success in government except its impact on the lives of the people.”

The Labor unions urged the government to swiftly conclude negotiations on a National Minimum Wage that reflects economic realities for Nigerian workers.

Other dignitaries at the Workers Day celebration were the Secretary to Government of the Federation, Sen. George Akume, representative of the Senate President, Sen. Didet Plang; and Chairman, House Committee on Labour, Employment and Productivity, Hon. Adegboyega Adefarati.

Others include former Presidents of the NLC, Sen. Adams Oshiomole; Comrade Ayuba Waba and Comrade Abdulwaheed Omar; former Executives of the various unions and representatives of the diplomatic community, among others.

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