The Federal Government on Sunday kept mum over the recent demand by the organised labour for a new minimum wage of N56,000.
The issue of the minimum wage was not mentioned by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, who represented President Muhammadu Buhari, at the May Day rally in Abuja.
Officials of the Nigeria Labour Congress expressed disappointment at the failure of the President to personally attend the annual event which would have given him the opportunity to address some of the issues raised by the workers.
For instance, the National President of the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees, Alhaji Ibrahim Khaleel, who doubles as the National Treasurer of the NLC, said that the President’s absence was a minus as he missed the opportunity to hear directly from the workers.
He said that Buhari would have had the opportunity to directly respond to the workers who believed in his cause as President.
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The last time the President openly identified with labour unions was at the 11th delegates’ conference of the NLC in February, 2015, shortly before his election.
When asked that both the President did not mention the issue of the new proposed minimum wage, he said that the President’s absence caused it.
“That is one of the bad feelings we have as workers representatives on May Day. We believe that it was as a result of the absence of Mr. President. There is no way the President of the country would grace an occasion and salient issues like that would be raised, without Mr. President at least responding to them.”
Khaleel said that while the organised labour did not have the exact reasons for the government’s refusal to comment on the issues, it was a fact that labour had always achieved welfare demands for its members through sustained struggle.
Read more: Punch