By: Ifeanyi Okonkwo (Anambra),
Anambra State Chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), on Tuesday 8th January, 2019, joined other comrades nationwide to observe a National Day of Protest declared by NLC, requesting that the Thirty Thousand Naira (30,000) Minimum Wage be signed.
The protest led by the Anambra State Chairman of the NLC, Comrade Jerry Nnubia had in attendance leaders of NLC and organized labour and also a large turnout of its members.
The comrades who came out in their large numbers were seen chanting freedom and solidarity songs with boldness and walked from Aroma junction down to the government house Awka.
Speaking to Union members, Comrade Uche Ekwe a National Officer of NLC who represented the National President Ayuba Wabba said, “From inception, NLC has never gotten any minimum wage on a platter of gold”.
Ekwe, who narrated chronically how the journey started said, NLC never had the intention of going on strike but were forced to do so in order to bring government back to the negotiating table.
“NLC never wanted to go on strike last year but had to do so in order to bring government back to the negotiation table. We achieved that purpose that was why we called off the strike. At the point of signing the minimum wage agreement, we discovered that government was been reluctant.”
“Its unfortunate that government claims that they don’t have money, but they move about with long convoys. Put your scale of preference in order. Stop chartering aircrafts, reduce your personal assistants. Don’t take our patience for weakness. Tell us if you are ready to pay. We want to know the stand of each state government.
He challenged the leaders of NLC and other unions urging them not to betray its members by compromising. He tasked union members to get ready for the real battle emphasizing that victory is sure.
Ekwe frowned at the delay tactics of government in signing the agreement stating that government is not been reasonable.
He further debunked the blackmail from government and some citizens stating that this journey by NLC is a journey of no return.
The National Office of the union while reading the address from the National Chairman at the government house Awka, listed some stand of the union which include:
“There will be more than enough money to pay the minimum wage if government cut down their excess spending.
“We have avoided traveling on this road for a long time with the hope that government will do the needful.
“We will vote out any government that refused to pay minimum wage. We will react accordingly.
“The stand of no work no pay by government is no longer a threat. We are ready to face sack from our work.
“Politicians should reduce and subject their huge salary and allowance which is among the highest in the world.
Comrade Jerry Nnubia Chairman NLC Anambra state, in his address said Nigeria workers will respond to the decisions of government at the polls. “We will not vote for any politician or political party that refuses to sign the minimum wage agreement, he said.
Speaking on behalf of Anambra state government, Secretary to the state government Professor Solo Chukwulubelu said, Governor Willie Obiano is a friend to workers in the state which can be seen from paying of salaries as at when due.
“Anambra state government is a responsible and law abiding government and has not delayed in paying salaries to workers in the state.
“Obiano has been prudent in spending the resources of the state and will do the needful when the time is right because he has always shown that he is on the side of workers.
Reports have it that the protest was held simultaneously across the country with the National President Ayuba Wabba, leading the union members in Abuja