The irony of incessant strikes and high joblessness may be hard to reconcile. It boils down to disproportionate distribution of salaries and those in position to steal the hell out of people’s resources.
When you see those that have never strived in life, worked hard or stayed long in school making it big by taking cocoa sacks to fetch our millions, one may feel cheated. There is no sense of justice in the distribution of income in Africa. So the demand for higher wages from those that make more without working hard for it will always lead to strikes.
It has been a long time we had incessant world strikes except in some countries in Africa since the government is the biggest employer. These are the same countries with the highest number of unemployed. It gets worse with the youths because a whole generation is growing into their most productive years without jobs. Most workers are giving back some of the pay and benefits they demanded years ago in the developed world in exchange for benefits and days off, as in Germany with Mercedes Benz older workers. The youths must demand jobs or be provided for to avoid more thugs, armed robbers, militias and fraudsters leading into full blown class war.
It may be wise to realize that in most countries, government workers are not paid as much as private companies though their pension may be better.
Overseas Medicaid, Medicare and National Health Service pay less. If you depend on government for your salaries, no matter how long you studied in school, delayed graduations to earn or bestow Mrs. or your choice of profession, the best job is the one you can create rather than running after contracts. Just remember to pay your workers the way you would want to be paid.
Africans are paid very little for their labor. Many workers hardly make it into the middle class unless they have a side business. If the husbands have regular jobs, the wives are traders of all sorts of materials. In case you are wondering how African men can afford to feed their wives and children, those wives work harder at home and outside than their husbands sometimes. Of course the top class can afford to let their wife or wives stay idle jetting all over the world.
We need to think about restructuring our pay scale after the Europeans left, to reward manual labor according to skill as we do with educational qualification. Higher degrees can be rewarded according to the number of years spent in school rather than the type of profession. If it takes 10 years to get a PhD in science and the same number of years to get it in history, it does not make sense to pay science graduates more than liberal graduates. In cases where we value science graduates more, we must increase science colleges geared to country’s need.
Indeed, right now Africans are short of skilled labor like electricians, plumbers, construction workers trained in building sophisticated structure. As a result, we import these workers from overseas to become the bosses of our graduates. It is not that we do not have many of these, it is the depth of their training because we put emphasis on theory and less premium on skills. Every foreign contract must have local apprenticeship included which is more critical in avoiding brain drain than creating local partnerships or professions meeting foreign standard.
Nevertheless, realities in most African countries are changing and many of our successful graduates are those that combine their educational training with acquired skills they would not touch some years ago. The point here is that pay should be according to needs in the primary industries in the country for more useful but less glamorous skillful graduates and professionals.
Many Africans that got their training in America and Europe worked at their professional job in the day and their skill jobs after. Many are willing to get their hands dirty which they would not do at home. You may have heard about doctors that also teach in schools or work as physician assistant while waiting for their papers – good for their own business. Some nurses also work as nursing assistant part time or those that have quit nursing for business or less strenuous jobs.
The real secret of all professionals is that they work killing number of hours no matter where they are for success. Some of them work themselves to death while some quit and catch their breath looking at money from a distance. Those that have their businesses are the jack of all trades in case some workers did not show up. In short, professionals are more amendable than we think. We do not know the inside stories of their success but certainly not from one salary.
It brings us back to pay according to skill and the education acquired. Until we change from paying more to prestigious qualification and less to unpleasant and skilful jobs, entry into middle class will always be limited to highly qualified professions while highly skillful and technically needed blue collar jobs will be in short supply forcing us overseas to recruit them. Many skilful jobs pay more than professional jobs putting both into middleclass neighborhood.
This is the way our graduates should be trained in our colleges and universities so that they can establish their own businesses and create jobs for others. The fact is we have run out of ideas on how to create jobs for graduates. Even in the most advanced countries, so many of them are without jobs because they are useless outside their field of training. The oil producing countries of the Middle East gave scholarships to their youths to attend the best universities in the world. When they return home, jobless and idle, they start revolutions against avarice.
The number of strikes we have especially by professionals working for the government are becoming an eyesore and they are looking like spoilt brats while youths are jobless. The cause in Nigeria for example is the jumbo pay of politicians. If these politicians can make so much money, nothing should stop the oil workers, professors, doctors, nurses as well as grave diggers and sanitation workers from demanding more. There is only so much in the pot and until that cake is shared equitable, more will feel cheated in the system. Only the poor man without service at government offices, gas stations and hospitals suffers the consequences incessant strikes.