• Fri. Jun 14th, 2024


May 21, 2024


By: Augustine Omilo


In today’s Nigeria, apart from President Bola Ahmed Tinubu who is doing all he can to assure the citizens of his ability to make them economically happy again, the next person with daunting challenges of making the nation an interesting place is the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Comrade Joseph Ajaero. Just like Tinubu, Nigerians have come to a point of different impressions of Ajaero. Some see him as a comprised Labour leader who is only interested in what he gets from the Federal government by at the detriment of workers’ wellbeing derived from the mandate given to him towards the continuous negotiation of their welfare from the employing authorities.

There are others who see the Labour leader as a man who have lost focus or do not have the intellectual capacity to withstand the antics of government in determining what Workers in the country deserve in terms of welfare.

Finally, there are many that have also identified Ajaero as a man who is more interested in being a leader in Labour Party, LP than being a mere Labour leader. This set of people are quick to ignore him anytime he makes pronouncements in favour of the workers. They rather assume the workers’ representative to be a spokesperson of the Labour party.

In the midst of all these, the fact that the labour leader deserves the help of Nigerians to succeed in the fight for a better country cannot be overemphasized. He deserves commendations, constructive criticism as appropriate instead of condemnations from the people all the time.

To wit, both the activism and intellectual base of the Nigeria Labour Congress have been shaken to a level of near-total collapse and irrelevance in the political scheme of things in the present Nigeria. This, on its own is not enough to suggest that Ajaero’s NLC does not mean well for Nigerians. The organisation is simply overwhelmed by the challenges confronting it.


In the light of this, it has become imperative for every Nigerian to actually help Ajaero to help Nigerians. Any one that has suggestions that will assist the Labour leader in his discussions with the government should not hesitate to send such to Labour headquarters. Of course, this is where the nation’s press has great roles to play – moving information from the people to NLC and vice versa.

Is it stands now, the workers’ union does not have an idea of what the federal government has in mind as its proposed minimum wage. And the government also have not reacted to Labour’s demand for about N605,000. In other words, Nigerians are yet to understand the conditions under which Ajaero will call out workers on protest as a result of government’s possible failure to announce the new minimum wage before or by 31st of May, 2024.

Going forward, both the NLC and TUC should put heads together and come up with a percentage increase in the salary of workers that will act as the minimum wage instead of continually announcing figures that do not make sense even to the workers. It is not enough to attack governors for speaking out on what they feel should appropriately apply as minimum wage in Nigeria. If Zamfara state is still paying a paltry sum of N8000 as minimum wage for primary school teachers, it is not out of place to listen to the recent submission of the State Governors.

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress, TUC owe it as a duty to pursue the implementation of the N30,000 minimum wage by all the states in the country and the private organisations captured in the payment scheme.

For sustenance, the national assembly must be reasonably persuaded to make laws that will help reduce the cumbersome nature of the salary increases in Nigeria. Issues of payment of arrears and implementation of payments without threats from the workers must be captured in the law.

Meanwhile, as the congress prepares to confront the government once again on the various issues relating to the welfare of workers, it is important that she equally make presentations to the government on how to generate more revenue for the country. Continuing to harmer on the already established fact that the nation’s refineries are not working and should be made to start working portray the Labour leaders as a bunch of fellows without enough sense of economics to withstand governments’ lines of thought.

Those representing NLC and TUC in their discussions with government must not necessarily have to be members of the executives of the organisations. There is a limit to which native sense can help in an argument that has to do with people’s feelings.

Beyond the on-going arguments about minimum and living wages, the organized Labour must not waste further time in pushing for a holistic establishment of wage reward system that ensures equity in the distribution of Nigeria’s wealth. The government cannot continue to have a bloated Civil Service that it cannot guarantee its wellbeing.

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