Labour unions are considered an important actor in the process towards more sustainable consumption and production patterns. They offer an organizational platform for a large number of workers and are involved in numerous policy processes.
However, labour unions have traditionally focused their attention on job security and maintenance as well as work place issues. Conversely, environmental concerns and sustainable development are usually not high on the political agenda of labour unions.
As the organized labour, under the auspices of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), declared last week that their major demands from President Muhammadu Buhari, as the workers celebrate another May Day, is immediate implementation of the new national minimum wage.
A year after the organized Labour demanded an upward review of the minimum wage from the present N18, 000 to N56, 000, the two labour federations lamented the failure of the Federal Government to implement the increment.
Labour made its position know at a pre May Day press conference held at the Labour House, Abuja yesterday. Deputy President of NLC and Chairman of the joint NLC/TUC May Day Organizing Committee, Comrade Peters Adeyemi, said though the process for negotiating the new minimum wage has begun, the Federal Government has failed to inaugurate the tripartite committee on minimum wage.
He said the May Day is an auspicious occasion for the working people to reflect on their struggles and make their demands.
According to him, Nigerian Workers will among other things during the May Day include immediate implementation of the new minimum wage as its major demand.
He said: “We shall use this opportunity to renew the call for the review of the national minimum wage that is overdue for review considering the current economic trend. Inflation has increased, the naira has lost its value and current minimum wage has been completely eroded. Therefore, the need and urgency for call to review of the current minimum wage.”
He said the theme of this year’s celebration, “Labour relations in economic recession: An appraisal” provides working class the opportunity to engage the government on how to revive the economy.”
Adeyemi said, “As the theme of this year’s May Day suggests; this is a time for us as working class to look at present economic situation that has witnessed negative downturn and the reality of the moment.
Indeed there is a need to critically look at the opportunity afforded to the group to work towards achieving economic revival and chart a way to a national rebirth, economic recovery and advocate for the engendering of socio-economic policies that pro-poor.
There are few things that can put a smile on the faces of the average Nigerian at the moment as a result of the economic recession which has led to gross inflation, but money remains the top motivating factor and Nigerians would celebrate an upward review of minimum wages but the negotiators shouldn’t let the people down and be compromised.