An Economist, Mr Chris Nemedia, on Tuesday called on the Federal Government to urgently meet with the organised labour to ease workers’ agitation for salary increment.
Nemedia, former Director, Economic Research, CBN, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that the agitation was legitimate considering the current economic realities in the country.
He said a robust dialogue among the various stakeholders would douse the tension and enthrone an industrial peace.
He added that a rise in salaries would guarantee improved productivity among civil servants, especially now that the government was carrying out series of reforms.
Nemedia said the current minimum wage was no longer realistic, adding that the government could raise workers salaries if it blocked wastage and further cut down salaries of political office holders.
“Raising the current N18,000 to something appreciable to workers will raise the patriotism level and act as a support in the wheel of progress of government policies.
“A raise is not asking for too much due to the high level of inflation in the economy and foreign exchange differentials,” he said.
“We are all aware that Nigerians political office holders earn so much. If they cut down their salaries and the money disbursed to poorly paid civil servants, it will address their hardship.
“The current N18,000 is less than 40 dollars and cannot solve anything problem of the worker,” he said.
He said that the various states had no excuse for not reviewing upward the salaries of their staff if they streamlined their wastage.
According to him, if the governors reduce the pegs associated to their offices and the funds voted to better the well-being of the civil servants, it will address the challenges faced by the worker.
“The demand of the civil servant is achievable if the authorities see the workers as partners in the Nigerian project,” he said
NAN reports that at the 2017 May Day celebration in Abuja, workers who expected favourable pronouncement on the matter were disappointed when the government called on workers to rededicate themselves to service.
The pronouncement angered workers, who insisted that the Federal Government had a responsibility to give them a definite position on the lingering issue of a new minimum wage in the country.
The workers were also angry that neither the President nor the Vice President was at the event to address them on the grave issues of survival affecting them.
The theme of this year’s celebration is Labour Relations in an Economic Recession. (NAN)