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Minimum Wage: ASUU, SSANU say Govs not sincere

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Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the Senior Staff Association of the Nigerian Universities (SSANU), said on Wednesday that the state governors are not sincere with N22, 500 being proposed as the new Minimum Wage for workers.

The unions in separate interviews with  News men in Abuja, described the N22, 500 being proposed by the governors as `laughable’.

The Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) had issued a communique after its meeting claiming that state governors could only pay N22, 500 as the new national minimum wage.

(l-r) Governor Abubakar Badaru of Jigawa State; Governor Mohanmmed Abubakar of Bauchi State; Chairman Governors’ Forum, Governor Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara State and Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State during an emergency meeting of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum with Speakers of State Houses of Assembly at the State House Conference centre, Abuja.. 

According to Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, ASUU President, it is a laughable proposal because when you look at it vis-a-vis when N18, 000 was the minimum wage, what has been the value?

“What has been the devaluation of Naira since then; what has also been the rate of inflation since then, what is the general assessment of the situation and the plight of the workers?

“It is laughable because the governors are not sincere and they are not sincere in the sense that they are claiming workers only represent five per cent of the population.

“But is there any worker in Nigeria who does not have at least two dependents or as many as five and even ten dependents.

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`So, if the government increases the income of workers it will translate to improved quality of lives for the Nigerian workers.

“So, if they are saying because Nigerian workers represents five per cent and do not deserved a living wage then they are the most insincere persons on earth, ‘’he said.

Ogunyemi called on the political class to look inward and compare their own income with that of the Nigerian workers.

He, however, called on the political class to analysis what was appropriate to pay the ordinary work forces, saying that we must put the issues into proper perspectives.
“In some countries they do not do this usual negotiation, like in Nigeria which comes up on the average of ten years.

“In other places they put the living wage along the line of the rate of inflation in which case it is like automatic.

“That is if the rate of inflation in Nigeria is ten per cent, then you should know that for that year there must be ten per cent increase.

“If we do that on a yearly basis in five years the living wage of some workers will be double,” he said.

The ASUU added that that the organised labour did not just come up with that figure; they took the average from Africa and west Africa.

“They also came to the conclusion that in West Africa, Nigeria is the least paid and if you translate it into dollar, even the N30, 000 is not up to one hundred dollar,’’ he added.

Also, Mr Samson Ugwuoke, SSANU president, also told NAN that the N22, 500 proposed by the Nigerian Governors Forum as minimum wage for workers was unfair.

According to him, the workers are also human being, how can N22, 500 sustain any worker or even with two or four defendants in a month.

“Are they saying that a worker should spend less than N1, 000 per day for food, transportation and even school fees, this is not right.

“I want to say, we join the organised labour to insist on N30, 000 as the new national minimum wage for workers,” he said.

Mr Amos Adamu, a civil servant, also told NAN that the state governors were unreasonable.

“Nigerians are really suffering, especially the workers, how much is the salary and how much do we spend on feeding, transportation and among others in a day.

“The cost of everything is very high and the money does not take us anywhere.

“My prayer is that the Federal Government and the state governors should have a rethink, it is not easy,” he pleaded.

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