Federal civil servants under the auspices of Joint National Public Service Negotiation Council have sent a memo to the Federal Government on the need to raise the salaries and emoluments of Nigerian workers.
National President, Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN), Dr. Tommy Okon, who disclosed this to The Guardian in Abuja, explained that the rising inflation and steady devaluation of the naira make the upward review of the N30,000 minimum wage very urgent.
His words: “With the rate of inflation in the country, it seems to me that the Nigerian workers are marked for execution. With the prices of goods and services hitting the rooftop, petrol prices jerked up, school fees rising, house rents on historic height, transport fares out of the reach of the common man and wages stagnant, tell me what is left for the Nigerian workers.
“Bread used to be the food of the common man. Today, the price of bread has moved by more than 500 per cent. In all of these, some governors still think that the N30,000 minimum wage is beyond them to pay. The Joint National Public Service Negotiation Council has sent a memo to the government on the need to increase workers’ wages.
“When you see a worker that is mentally depressed, not because he or she is sick in the body or does not know what to reason, but he or she lacks what to reason. What will workers think about that is not overwhelming? The children’s school fees? transport fares? house rents? food? All of these within the present minimum wage?”
While urging the Federal Government to reinstate payment of gratuity, Okon argued that the prevailing circumstances had backed the request.
On the planned N6 trillion petrol subsidy next year, the ASCSN boss urged the Federal Government to jettison the idea, stating: “When subsidy on petrol is eventually removed, a sane government must create an enabling environment by ensuring the public transportation system is functioning, as well as stable electricity and water supply for workers to survive.
“Labour is not opposed to the removal of subsidy on petrol. What Labour is saying is that before the subsidy is removed, the government must create an enabling environment that would cushion the effects of the removal on the people.”
But General Secretary of Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU), Peters Adeyemi, said Labour unions would oppose any presidential candidate that advocates removal of subsidy during the campaign.