It is really disturbing that till date, labour has refused to see reason with the state government on the issue of the new minimum wage which has become an albatross not only on the necks of state governments across the federation but also on the neck of the federal government itself.
Against all appeals that they should be cognisant of the financial situation of the state and be patient with the government, workers still went on strike as a way of pressing home their demand for the full implementation of the new minimum wage as approved by the FG. The strike action which is entering its fifth week is what we see as counter-productive as it doesn’t augur well with the interest of the state.
Much as we recognise the right of workers to demand for higher pay and also their right to embark on strike to press home their demand as obtained in other climes of the world, we like to appeal to workers in the state to sheathe their sword in the interest of the state. Workers need to consider the reality on ground with respect to the state’s poor financial situation and be patient enough pending when the government will find it convenient to pay the new minimum wage across board and we believe that will not be farther than necessary because this is a government that is seriously concerned not only about workers’ welfare but also the welfare of the generality of the people in the state. Workers themselves can bear us witness in this regard considering what the government has recorded within this short spell in terms of achievement.
We like to stay categorically and without any fear of contradiction
that the government we have in place in the state now is
labour-friendly as the antecedent of the state’s chief helmsman speaks
volume in terms of protecting the interest of labour in the country
and fighting for common interest. He is not the one that will turn a
deaf ear to the plight of workers and this is evident in the way he
jerked up junior workers’ salaries with a thousand naira above the
approved N18,000 national minimum wage. This shows that Ogbeni Gomina
is not the type that will be reluctant to implement the national
minimum wage to the letter if the resources are available.
We all know the politics behind the minimum wage for which many
Nigerians have condemned the action of the federal government. It is
clear that President Jonathan only used the minimum wage issue as a
chicanery to win the April presidential election only for him to be
talking of inability of FG to pay across board again after the
elections. But it is too late for the FG to reverse since the
agreement had already been passed into law and it has no option than
to obey the law.
In point of fact, we identify with the plight of workers and we also
want to affirm that no amount could be regarded as too big to be paid
to the Nigerian worker considering the resources we have in this
country. But official corruption especially at the centre has denied
workers and the Nigerian people generally the right to live that
meaningful and comfortable life they actually deserve. The problem
confronting workers and the masses of this country goes beyond this
issue of minimum wage. Our lopsided federalism accounts for the main
reason why we are having all these problems. The time has come for all
well-meaning Nigerians and all the progressive forces in the land,
labour itself inclusive, to stand up now and push for true federalism,
for, that is the only way to address the problem of inadequacy of fund
confronting the states. There is too much money at the centre at the
detriment of the states.
In the light of the above and far from taking side with government, we
are using this medium to strongly appeal to workers to call off their
strike and cooperate with this administration so all the progressive
plans Ogbeni Gomina has for the state can be realised. This is a
government that has the interest of the people at heart and a lot to
offer the people in terms of democracy dividends. But the cooperation
of all and sundry is needed for government to achieve its goal.
We appreciate the diligence and the perseverance of workers in the
state and the Nigerian workers generally. Our prayer is that we shall
all reap the fruits of our labour in full-Amen. Osun a dara o!
It’s well!Osun Defender