The Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress have asked the Federal Government to increase the salary of civil servants, police officers, armed forces and para-military agencies.
The unions argued that it was only fair to adjust upwards their emoluments close to those of employees in other segments of the public service.
The demand is coming two years after the government raised the national minimum wage to N30,000 which about three states have failed to pay.
Presenting their demands during the 2022 May Day celebrations at the Eagle Square in Abuja on Sunday, the NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, also asked the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to direct relevant agencies to implement the salary increment announced for teachers and police officers last year.
Speaking on behalf of the organised labour, Wabba stated, “We commend President Muhammadu Buhari for announcing salary increment for our teachers and police officers last year. We urge relevant agencies of government to translate this presidential declaration from a promise to actual deposits in the bank accounts of the concerned workers.
“In this vein, we demand an upward review of the salary of core civil servants, officers of the Nigeria Police Force, members of our armed forces and paramilitary agencies who make huge sacrifices to keep us safe. We believe it is only just to narrow their emoluments and those of employees in other segments of the public service.”
Wabba commended Buhari for exempting permanent secretaries from the contributory pension scheme and approving for them salaries for life, describing this as a good motivation “for those who have devoted their lives in the service of our nation and people.”
While cataloguing the failures of the government in education, economy, health, security and the energy sectors, among others, the unions vowed to mobilise workers to participate in the 2023 elections.
They also promised to facilitate the emergence of a progressive pro-Nigerian workers’ political coalition, assuring that their 16 million block votes would go to a progressive and worker-friendly party.
“If your political party is truly progressive and worker-friendly, you should be talking to us. The over 16 million block votes of Nigerian workers, pensioners, our families and our other circle of influence will go to political parties and candidates that assure us that the dreams of Nigerian workers and people would no longer be treated as governance addendum or as objects to be trampled under,” the unions said.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in his speech said the nation was moving steadily towards progressive development and called for continued support for the government.
He pleaded with the Academic Staff Union of Universities and the broader labour community to seek the path of dialogue, noting that disagreement and debate have always been part of the relationship between labour and the government.
Osinbajo stated, “It in this spirit that I call on ASUU to embrace dialogue with the government and I call on the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress to help facilitate a resolution of this dispute through dialogue. I believe that we can find a path forward in good faith. And this is what we will do.”
On insecurity, the VP explained that the government is “re-engineering our security architecture with a greater focus on technology and modern force multiplier platforms.”
He assured that the nation would achieve effective broadband connectivity for all by 2025, remove over-regulation, multiple taxations and poor infrastructure from the necks of the private sector to unleash their productivity.
Osinbajo further promised Nigerians that the government would establish a technology economy that will leverage broadband connectivity, encourage tech companies to train more engineers “and surpass every nation in terms of the quantum and quality of tech talent.”
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, urged the organised labour to continue to eliminate actions inimical to the quest for good governance and development in the country.