Comr. Geoff Chukwunweiken Uti, the immediate past chairman of Academic Staff Union of Secondary Schools (ASUSS) Delta State has aired his unsavory feeling of the much lauded minimum wage by the Buhari led administration. This came in only few weeks after the president of the Federation, Muhammadu Buhari had signed the new minimum wage bill for Federal and State governments including private firms with a minimum of 25 staff strength to pay their workers N30, 000 as minimum wage a negotiation which began more than a decade ago
According to Comr. Uti who spoke with Ika Weekly Newspaper reporter on Thursday May 2, 2019, the approved minimum wage has been eaten up by inflation, and traders are still warming up to place outrageous prices on their goods because prices of goods are not being censured.
His words “The Federal government may have good intentions in implementing the minimum wage, but, it is obviously not a step guided in the right direction, bearing in mind that the salary of a civil servant, no matter how big it may sound to the ear becomes nothing when he takes it to the market to be eaten up by inflation. It is vital for the government to first tackle the issue of inflation before discussing workable minimum wage which also will not be stealthily taken back by high and excessive taxation.
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“There is supposed to be a body known as Price Control Board in Nigeria, but, one tends to wonder why this body remains silent over this price hike. If a father of four takes a minimum wage of N30,000 to the market where a bag of rice is sold for over N20,000, the minimum wage becomes nothing other than a facade by the federal government to cover its inept performance over the years. So, there is no kudos to the government for the so called minimum wage, when its effect is not felt.”
The comrade also went on to lament the unrecognized value of labourers and staff, especially by private firms who prevent their workers from observing certain holidays including the just celebrated Workers’ Day.
“There are a lot of issues we need to fix in this country, the capitalist system for example. Workers are not appreciated, their employers do not seem to know or respect their value. It is sad that a day publicly declared as Workers’ Day for workers to celebrate the dignity in labour and spend quality time with their children and family, some private organizations still compel their staff to be at work. It is pathetic to say the least,” he said.
BY WILLIAM USIFO