The President of Nigeria Labour Congress Joe Ajaero has said four months after the removal of the subsidy, Nigerian workers are down and weak. He said subsidy was removed without consultation, well-thought-out palliatives, or wage adjustments.
He said, “Why must it be the workers that are down already that must continue to sacrifice?”
Ajaero in an interview with ARISE NEWS on Wednesday said, “In a Labour parlance, a slave has nothing to lose than this chain, he that is down needs no fall,” his way of saying going on a strike cannot make the situation worse than it already is.
He said, “Workers can’t go to work, feed, pay for children’s fees, survive on a loaf of bread per day. We have almost become destitute, the economy cannot grow when there is no purchasing power.”
Ajaero said nothing has been achieved even after the numerous meetings with the government, “that is the height of insensitivity and it is worse because they are using silence and laziness as a strategy.”
The Labour Congress president said a committee was set up at the first meeting between the NLC and the federal government, and those committees have not deliberated on the issues presented by the NLC.
According to him, “Only on the eve of any strike notice that there is a meeting” and all the agreements in the meetings have not been converted to levels of implementation.
He said, “Each time we meet on the eve of taking action, and agree to give the government more time, Nigerians will say we have been settled with money by the government
“Nobody will think we are insensitive or have not tried, ordinarily the subsidy should not have been removed without making provisions for the consequences that will arise from it.”
He said he does not understand Minister of Labour, Simon Lalong, asking for more time as “how more time will be enough?, NLC is not available for endless times and cannot give one more chance when people are dying.”
He said this is an emergency situation and asking for one more time is like a crime.
Ajaero said the pressure the two Labour centres are passing through is not one that anyone should canvass for one more chance and “anyone that canvasses for more time is not sensitive to the plight of Nigerian workers and masses.”
He says if the President ignites any responses to our demands in his Independence Day in his address, “that will be imposing wages on us and not a conscious negotiation between Labour and the federal government”.
“If he declares an amount to give, that will be mere tokenism and not a product of bargaining and negotiation.”
Concluding his interview, Ajaero said he is very concerned people say he collects money in the background from the FG.
“I have spent half of my adulthood in Labour, at no point can any government, president, or minister say he dangled money in my face because he dare not do it.”