SSANU seeks review of minimum wage, berates govs
Re-elects Ugwoke for second term
THE Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) has urged the Federal Government to put in place necessary machinery in motion to begin negotiation for a new national minimum wage.
The President of the union, Samson Ugwoke has also been re-elected for another four years tenure at the just concluded 1st quadrennial national delegates conference of SSANU in Enugu.
Speaking at the conference, Ugwoke castigated the Governors Forum for contemplating non-implementation of the minimum wage law as unreasonable.
The SSANU boss said surviving on N18,000 was bad enough saying most Nigerian workers are surviving on credit system via cooperative societies in their offices to solve immediate family problems.
Ugwoke hinted that labour has since passed the stage of minimum wage but are progressing to how to review the ‘slave wage’ to a more reality wage system that is just.
He added: “The issue of minimum wage is non-negotiable. We are talking about reviewing of the wage due to inflationary rate. The present wage cannot even take workers home, because they are living on credit system where workers take money from the cooperative society with such money deducted from source at the end of the month, which leaves them with nothing to take home. So any governor that is saying he cannot pay minimum wage is not being reasonable.”
The SSANU President, who lauded the Federal Government efforts at repositioning the economy, urged government to ensure such steps not lead to suffering of the masses.
He, however regretted that with the present economic realities in the country occasioned by epileptic power supply, industries were reducing workforce, which had negative effect on workers.
He said: “Industries will sack their workers sooner or later because there is no power, the power level is still low, an economy that is generator-based cannot guarantee companies to produce at 100 percent, and who are suffering, it is the workers. So if a business man cannot make profit, he will reduce workers and these people will come back to be unemployed, thereby increasing the poverty level in the country.
So government must look at the economy again and take us back to agriculture. We are blessed with abundant arable land, including six to ten months rain.
“So, why can’t we feed ourselves and other African countries? A situation where Chinese vulcanizers will come to Nigeria and be called ‘Engineers’ is not acceptable.”
In a solidarity message at the occasion, General Secretary of Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU), Peters Adeyemi said unions must collectively fight against the introduction of the neo-liberal approach to industrial relations in the universities system.
His words: “At the heart of neo-liberal approach to industrial relations is deregulation of collective bargaining; limited intervention of the state in industrial relations and encouragement of individualism as against collectivism. Central in the collectivism approach to industrial relations is collective bargaining, where workers are represented by their unions and collective agreements entered into by parties are implemented.
Workers living standard are not determined only by the size of their packages, but also by the quality and affordability of public services like education, healthcare, transportation, power, roads and so on.”
Adeyemi, who berated government for poor funding of education system, accused the capitalist ruling class for abandoning adequate funding of public educational institution because their children no longer attend them.
He added: “Such ruling class whether in public service, politics or business are now involved in medical tourism overseas after which they conspired to neglect the funding of our public healthcare.”