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Calls for improved welfare resonate on Workers’ Day

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Bobboi Kagaima

Today is May Day, customarily, calls for improved welfare for workers, condemnation of anti-workers policies and general comments on the state of the nation are expected to dominate the activities of labour leaders across the country. 

Here in Abuja, both the Presidents of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and his Trade Union Counterpart, Bobboi Kaigama would be joined by government officials to celebrate the occasion at the majestic Eagles square. 

Expectedly, labour would be demanding the speedy conclusion of the on-going minimum wage, end to the incessant killings by killer herdsmen, ensure safety at workplaces, bemoaning non-payment of salaries by some state governments, payment of pension, amendment to the Pension Act and fighting corruption within the ambience of the law. 

Just at has happened in the last three years, President Muhammadu Buhari would not be attending the 2018 edition of May Day as he is presently in the United States on official visit.

The General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), Sharan Burrow said May Day is significant and a day to reiterate the resilience of workers to protect the principles the guide the workplace.

She stated that trade unions would always stand up for its central values of equality, dignity, development, democracy and peace, adding that it is the realisation of the values, through the strength of collective action and solidarity that provides the promise of a better world – a world where the rules work for people.

Burrow insisted that time has come to change the rules, to cast off the shackles on democracy and human rights, adding, “it is unions organising to build workers’ power, in the cities, towns and countryside, in workplaces and communities across the world, that will make that hope a reality. We celebrate May Day with confidence and determination to ensure that the founding tenets of our movement are the cornerstones for the future.”

On her part, human right activist, Joe Okei-Odumakin, decried the spate of corruption in the polity. 

Speaking at the 2018 Pre-May Day symposium at the Lagos State Council of the NLC, on the theme: ‘Labour Movement in National development: Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win’, Odumakin said labour movement must organise their struggle to win back the trust of Nigerians.

Odumakin said consistency is key when negotiation for minimum wage is concluded. 

“The minimum wage that we have now cannot put food on the table of the workers, but there are some people talking about minimum wage because of politics, they are seeing it as a leeway to secure more votes. Those talking about it must ensure they are able to deliver, as majority canvassing for it has not being able to pay the previous wages which keep piling up,” she said.

Speaking also, the chairman of the event, National President of Association of Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions (ASSBIFI), Mrs. Olasanoye Oyinkan submitted that struggle is not necessarily wrestling with employers, but about tolerance and insistence that justice must be done to workers.


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