DEMAND FOR N52, 200 MINIMUM WAGE
DSM Press Statement
DEMAND FOR N52, 200 MINIMUM WAGE
LABOUR LEADERS MUST INTENSIFY THE STRUGGLE FOR A LIVING WAGE FOR NIGERIAN WORKERS
The recent statements credited to top government officials have confirmed the position of the Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) that the government would not pay the long overdue living wage to Nigerian workers unless it is pressured through mass actions and struggles of workers.
At the May Day celebration the hope of workers that an increased minimum wage would be announced by the government was dashed.
The Minister of Labour and Productivity, Mr. Chukwuemeka Wogu has stated that a new minimum wage will be based on availability and affordability of resources while the Head of Service, Mr. Steve Oronsanye stated that “increase in the salaries of civil servants would go along with increased productivity.” These statements are a pointer to the fact that the Goodluck Jonathan government, like the previous governments, is not ready to pay living wage to workers or even increase the minimum wage to N52, 200 as demanded by the NLC.
The arguments that suggest that resources are not available to pay and, as such, cannot afford any wage increment for workers have always been used in attempt to deflate agitations for a living wage. The truth of the matter is that resources that would have been used to pay living wage and invest massively in basic infrastructure are being stolen, looted and used to pay unwarranted jumbo allowances to some privileged few individuals including political office holders.
Besides, the argument of government on productivity should be viewed by Labour with suspicion. It could mean a basis to retrench workers on account of a salary increase. Why has government waited for workers to demand a salary increase before raising the question of productivity? No doubt, it is not that workers have not been productive. Rather, this is an attempt to make a worker to pay for any salary increase by doing the jobs of two or more so that the government can shed the workforce.
We therefore call on the Labour leadership to ensure that no single worker loses his/her job on the account of a new minimum wage.
Also importantly, we hold strongly that the tame industrial relation tactics of the NLC and TUC in the struggle for the new minimum wage are not going to achieve the desired result. The Labour leadership should immediately come up with a programme of struggle that will involve mass mobilization of workers and a warning strike as the next steps towards wining a living wage.
We hereby call on the government to immediately implement a living wage to Nigeria workers and also invest massively in the masses’ well-being, industries and basic infrastructures in order to boost economic development.
However, on the basis of its anti-poor capitalist neo-liberal economic agenda, it will be extremely difficult for Jonathan government to implement any pro-masses’ programme on a lasting basis. This is one of the reasons we have been consistently calling on trade unions and Labour leaders to be committed to the building of the Labour Party as a formidable working people political platform that is capable of wresting political power from the thieving ruling elite at all levels and running government and economy on the basis of socialist programme for the benefit of all.