Victor Umeh: Court injunction can’t resolve Nigerian workers’ demand for N30,000 minimum wage

As the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) gears up for its planned November 6 indefinite strike on account of the Federal Government’s inability to accept payment of N30,000 new minimum wage.

 Victor Umeh, the Senator representing Anambra-Central Senatorial District, has said that the Federal Government’s option for a court order to stop the strike will not resolve the issue, but instead further aggravate the situation.
Umeh stated this at the Awka-South local government headquarters at the weekend while responding to questions from journalists on the planned industrial action by NLC.
He said that the Federal Government should not bluff workers when dealing with them, pointing out that even if the Federal Government got a court order to stop Labour from embarking on strike, workers must press home their demands for better working conditions and welfare packages.
The Senator noted that the Federal Government should engage Labour in a meaningful dialogue and that the only dialogue was to consider the money workers were demanding for and whether in all sincerity a Nigerian worker could run a home with N22,500 salary per month as proposed by some governors.
He also stressed that Nigerian workers do not have living wage and that the Federal Government should no longer pretend that there was no money when, according to him, a lot of people were living in affluence while workers languish in abject penury.
According to him, what Nigerian workers deserve were living wage and not the N30,000 they were currently agitating for, emphasising that “there is nobody in his employ that earns below N40,000 a month. Many people earn N70,000, N50,000, N100,000 and above. So, I don’t know why government is very adamant in the plight of workers. Some governors are saying that they will pay workers N22,500; how can a worker use N22,500 a month to look after his or her family?”
Umeh continued: “I work in the Senate and I know that there’s money we appropriated in the budget; this year alone over N9 trillion was in the budget and N500 billion was dedicated to special projects to fight poverty. Where is the money?”
“They said they spent about N24 billion every month; I am from Anambra State and I have not seen where the money was applied. Government should learn how to manage their resources and pay workers the money they are asking for. My gateman earns about N35,000 every month even cleaners. So why should government say a man with about seven children should go home with N22,500 a month?”
He maintained that government should know that it was not only those in leadership positions that should have access to the nation’s treasury and that N30,000 can’t solve problems in homes.

He said leaders should cut down on excess expenditures, alleging that so much money was being filtered away through conduit pipes.
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