By Obinna Achi, Awka
The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), has lamented the continued closure of factories resulting to job losses and high cost of essential commodities, including food items.
The Chairman of NLC in Anambra, Mr Jerry Nnubia told newsmen in Awka that the federal and state governments urgently needed to address these challenges.
He also called for the review of the wages of workers because inflation had eaten deep into their wages.
The national leadership of NLC had submitted a proposal of N56, 000 minimum wage to the Federal Government early this year.
Nnubia, who called for more friendly economic policies, described the condition of the Nigerian workers as “pitiable’’, saying that the existing wage structure could no longer sustain workers due to the recession.
“We are disturbed by the continued loss of jobs in the private sector because of the high level of shutdown. We thought by now that they should have been expanding and employing,” he said.
The chairman said that kerosene, which was an essential commodity, was no longer within the reach of the masses as a litre now sold for around N500 due to scarcity.
“The condition of the Nigerian worker is now unimaginable, you can see we are still talking about N18, 000 minimum but recession has eaten up what is left in our wages.
“The economy is biting very hard and we are at the receiving end because prices of goods and services are hitting the roof tops while salaries remain stagnant.
“You can imagine the level of hardship that the workers have been subjected to; it is a very pitiable situation.
“Labour at the centre has officially presented a minimum wage proposal of N56, 000 at the beginning of the year and we are hopeful that between now and May, government will do the needful.
“We have made our demand and we know that the national tripartite committee will look at and recommend implementation.
“Kerosene is an essential commodity which affects the lives of every Nigerian, it is unfortunate that we can no longer pay for it, imagine paying as much as N500 per litre, it is unbearable.
“I do not think that the Federal Government is doing enough to protect Nigerian citizens from economic hardship; it should look at their campaign promises again and see the difference when compared with what we are in now,” he said.
Nnubia said that the labour in Anambra was now rejecting the salary structure in the state, adding that “it is one of the least in the country’’.
He called on Gov. Willie Obiano to review it urgently in view of the state government’s promise of improving the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).
“I have always said that Anambra workers receive the lowest pay in Nigeria and the government has made a promise to review it pending the improvement in IGR. With what is happening now it is imperative that the government increases pay for our members.
“That is without prejudice to what the proposal of the national body is doing, we want Anambra to join and key into the outcome of that proposal,’’ he said.
NLC laments rising factory shutdown, high cost of living
By Obinna Achi, Awka