Editor's note: Apagunpote Olayimika writes on the recently approved minimum wage for workers in Nigeria by President Muhammadu Buhari.
However, on the celebration of the new minimum wage Olayimika suggests that not only government workers by also staff of private organisations deserve a voice too on the issues of salaries.
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Nigeria is hellish and not easy to live in. This statement has been subjected to investigations by several non-governmental organisations who pay scholarly citizens through grants to spy and gather information about us and our woeful tales of stagnancy and people have benefited from her woes through employment opportunities in these organisations.
Several studies have confirmed that Nigeria as a country is not fit to live in by humans as a result of mass unemployment, acute hunger and absolute poverty.
High fatality rate, sorry state of health facilities, poor state of schools and infrastructures are features of Nigeria as a country. Our egos as citizens might disallow us to agree with submissions of organisations but we all know that these submissions are no thing but true.
Today is worker's day. The ovation is loud, every state capital is colorful as workers troop out in their numbers to celebrate the D-day. One needs to salute the persistent determination of the Nigerian workers. Workers are the pillars of every nation.
The progress of a nation depends on the activeness, sincerity and ingenuity of its workers.
As workers come together to celebrate the D-day, they can not deny the sad narratives of our dear country they labor for every day yet they engage in colorful celebration of the unholy relationship between their union, private owners of industries and state governments.
Labour leaders need to become more responsibility and change the dynamism of their agitations. The challenge ahead goes beyond minimum wage, they should place premium on private owners of industry because they are the real enemies of labour
Few months ago, I travelled to the sunshine state for an event. If you ever visited the sunshine state, you will absolutely know that you can not separate hotel business from the good people of Ondo. I was opportune to lodge into one of these big hotels in Akure, the state capital of Ondo state.
I followed my boss who has been penned down as a keynote speaker in a symposium. I was inside his own room discussing about Nigeria politicians when we heard a knock.
A beautiful lady came into the room and she was well dressed in the hotel's outfit. She brought two plates of food. I was busy accessing this lady when she approached my boss and started acting strange. What could cause the sudden and unusual behaviour of this lady? What a question.
My boss in his usual way of accessing people's thought, started a conversation with this lady to know more about her.
In the course of our discussion, she told us that she graduated from a Polytechnic and how they got her job in this hotel through connections. She is grateful for the job and even told us about the present state of her friends they left school together and how they are still looking for jobs.
I am in charge of laundry and they pay us N15,000 per month as salary, she said. In a hotel where people pay N30,000 per night for executive lodge, staffs receive minimum of N15,000 as salary. What a nation!
The story of this lady is very similar to the stories of many Nigerians who are always at the receiving ends of these private owners.
Nigerians who work at petrol stations, bakeries, hotels and industries are also Nigerian workers and they have rights to be secured. I know some petrol stations where young Nigerians who are struggling for wealth work day and night and receive N6,000 as salary.
Young Nigerians who work as labourers in industries and receive stipends as monthly salary. Have you heard about Nigerians who work at local bakeries where employers use breads and little funds as remuneration?
People who work at private radio stations, they earn less yet the less funds become debts. These are greater challenges labour leaders ignore and continually subject Nigerian workers into slavitude.
Till today, nobody understands the opaque finances of some states in Nigeria. There are states workers recieve modulated salaries and there are states workers are owed for years. As I congratulate Nigerian workers on the recent increment of minimum wage, it is my considered opinion that we should ask ourselves what's the level of execution of #18,000 by state governments before the celebration of the new one?
Have we ever asked ourselves the level of execution of #18,000 minimum wage before the call for increment? How many states can afford the previous minimum wage not to talk of #30,000? These are greater challenges workers need to act upon.
Truly, workers are warriors and Nigerian workers are super warriors.They exhibit the characters of warriors at work.
The lady who works in a hotel where a night passed is #30,000 and receives #15,000 is a warrior. The young Nigerian boy who works in a petrol station against risks and receives N6000 is also a warrior.
The labourer who works from 8.00 am till 5.30 pm in a company and receives N1200 is also a worker. Yes. They are Nigerian warriors. Only warriors work under negative pressures, unpleasant conditions and receive little remunerations yet give their best to the country they represent.
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My father once told me that warriors do not cry because tears and fragility are related and they belong to the fearful class but they agitate and rant at the sorry state of things. Nigerian workers need to start expressing their displeasure at every single opportunity. Labour leaders need to wake up to responsibility and engage the government and private employers dutifully. Nigerians who work for private owners should be included in their project #SaveNigeriaWorkers.
These people battle with men of extreme greediness and excessive love for profit and gains. Workers' day is not only meant for coming together of workers at state capital. It is not only about inviting governors for speeches and decorating them with ribbons.
It is also about solidarity and extension of assistance and I think Nigerians who work in industries and companies of men of excessive greediness need one.
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