Today, workers in Nigeria, led by labour unions, took to the streets and event centres to commemorate the International Workers’ Day.
This year’s May Day comes at a time when the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and other organised Labour groups are in a “war” mood.
The working class groups and labour unions held rallies across the country to celebrate the day, and to also advocate for the consideration of the often neglected needs of workers.
In the spirit of celebrating the day, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) drew the attention of the Federal Government to the salaries of civil servants, which are barely enough to cater for basic needs.
The unions demanded for an increase the salary of civil servants, police officers, armed forces and para-military agencies.
The demand is coming about two years after the government pushed the national minimum wage to 30,000.
NLC President, Ayuba Wabba further urged President Muhammadu Buhari to give directives for the immediate implementation of the salary increment for teachers and the police since last year, which has not been reflected in their take homes.
“We commend President Muhammadu Buhari for announcing salary increment for our teachers and police officers last year. We urge relevant agencies of government to translate this presidential declaration from a promise to actual deposits in the bank accounts of the concerned workers.
“In this vein, we demand an upward review of the salary of core civil servants, officers of the Nigeria Police Force, members of our armed forces and paramilitary agencies who make huge sacrifices to keep us safe. We believe it is only just to narrow their emoluments and those of employees in other segments of the public service,” Wada, who spoke on behalf of the organised labour, stated.
Vice President and presidential aspirant, Yemi Osinbajo, called for support for the government. He also urged ASUU to dialogue with the government to find sustainable ways of ending the strike.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige charged the unions to continue to uphold their modes of operations by eliminating actions that may threaten the smooth development of the country.
Chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu through his office, commemorated the day by calling on Nigerians to work in unity in order to achieve a better country for everyone, and the generations to come.
“Let us dedicate this day and ourselves to the fair and unassailable proposition that every worker is entitled to an equitable wage representing the value of their labour and effort,” he said.
“Labour is the backbone of a nation. Our nation’s labourers are the daily unsung heroes of society. The work they performed helps define our nation. The goods and services their efforts provide are the basis of our collective well-being.
As we acknowledge and celebrate the Nigerian worker on this day, let us as Nigerians, dedicate ourselves to a hopeful future where our individual and collective efforts merge in harmony to produce a better Nigeria for ourselves and future generations. God bless the workers. God bless Nigeria,” he said.
Senate President Ahmad Lawan assured workers that the issues of welfare will be addressed, as they intend to work with labour unions to ensure effective results.
“Nigerian workers deserve our appreciation and respect for their contributions to the development of our country,” Lawan said.
“I also salute them for their patriotic cooperation with the government and other institutions in the collective efforts to address societal challenges,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Lagos State chapter on Sunday, endorsed the Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu for second term.
In her address during the Workers’ Day celebration, the NLC Chairperson in Lagos State, Ms Agnes Sessi assured the governor that his decision to seek for second term will be fully supported by the union.
“We the workers are supporting you because you are the hope of the masses. Workers in Lagos stand with you.
“During the COVID-19 pandemic, you did not sack workers and even gave palliatives. Even after the pandemic, you are still employing workers. You were also prompt in paying salaries.
“This is not like that in other states. Therefore, anywhere you go, we shall stand with you,” she said.
Workers’s Day, also known as May Day or Labour Day, is celebrated every May 1 to highlight the achievements of workers, as well as create awareness about their struggles.