The Trade Union Congress has called on President Muhammadu Buhari’s intervention on the lingering delay of the implementation of the new national minimum wage of N30,000, particularly the consequential adjustments to the pay package of other categories of workers.
The National President of the TUC, Quadri Olaleye, Speaking with State House correspondents after the meeting said the union felt it was high time the government resolved the issue of consequential adjustments for the purpose of industrial harmony. “Mr President has assured us that he will look into it,” Olaleye said.
Olaleye also said the union discussed Nigeria’s signing of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement with the President, advising him to ensure that the country improved on its export capabilities.
He added, “Insecurity was also discussed and the need to improve on our employment opportunities to cut down crimes. There is a link between unemployment and crime.”
The N30,000 is for the least-paid worker in Nigeria. So far, the new wage is said to have been implemented by some states for workers on Levels 01 to 04.
Other categories of workers have yet to have a reflection of the new wage on their monthly take home.
The TUC, a union representing senior workers on Levels 7-17, raised the matter with Buhari when its new leadership visited the President at the State House in Abuja on Thursday.
“We discussed the consequential increases on the minimum wage with Mr President.
But the Presidency, in a statement, said Buhari at the session, promised that his administration would not inflict additional hardship on Nigerians.
The President assured the union that the Federal Government was committed to the implementation of the new wage and promised to introduce more policies to reduce their hardship.
“On fuel prices, I agree with you on the need to eliminate corruption and inefficiencies in the sector. I want to assure you that, as an administration, we have no intention of inflicting any additional hardship on Nigerians,” Buhari was quoted as saying in the statement, signed by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu.
The President also spoke on the performance of his administration in the first term (2015-2019).
He noted, “During our first term, we secured the nation’s territorial integrity and continue to protect the lives and properties of our citizens. We introduced various economic stimulus packages that support businesses and traders at all levels, promoted backward integration programmes especially in the agricultural sector to enhance our food security while creating jobs.”
Responding to complaints by the TUC that the country’s decaying infrastructure needed urgent intervention, Buhari said, “The points you raised are all inter-connected. The lack of power and infrastructure due to decades of under-investment, led to the closure or inefficient operations of a number of factories across the country. This meant the private sector was unable to create jobs fast enough to cope with our increasing population.
“You will agree with me that all these challenges and many more were long ago left unattended to, thereby leaving the country in the mired state we inherited. You all will also testify to having seen and experienced what we have put in place as an administration to address these challenges.”
On his part, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, described the demands of the TUC as “patriotic.”