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Inflation: Nigerian Workers, NLC Warns About Looming Strike If Government Fails To Review Salaries

October 18, 2022

The NLC warned of impending strikes in the health and judiciary sectors as well as core service over the unreviewed wages for 13 years against the three years’ review agreement.

The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) has called on the federal and state governments to start immediate payment of cost of living allowances to their workers.
The NLC warned of impending strikes in the health and judiciary sectors as well as core service over the unreviewed wages for 13 years against the three years’ review agreement.
The NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, who stated this on Monday, against the recently suspended eight months’ industrial action embarked my Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), lamented that the nation's economy was not doing well and had reason not to do well, adding that the country was well-endowed.

Wabba explained that the judiciary, medical and health salary structures including the core civil service were last reviewed in 2013 contrary to the provisions of their agreements that provided for a review in three years.

He said, “If we are on the same page to look at issues and how to respond to them effectively, workers don’t have to become slaves and be at the receiving end; something should proactively be done to address their challenges."
The NLC president noted that the argument that the challenge in the economy and the high-wire inflation trend was a global phenomenon did not hold water because every country is responding locally to the challenges.
According to him, “There are many sectors today and some of them because also they are not allowed to try to advance their issues, they have remained silent, but it is eating them up very deep. Out of these is the Judiciary. I know as a matter of fact, from 2009 to date, the salary and remuneration of the Judiciary have not been reviewed. It has been very, very difficult for them to discharge their responsibilities, without fear or favour and with job satisfaction. Imagine the challenges that have actually affected the economy from 2009 to date including spiral inflation. If you are earning X amount as of 2009, how do you survive in this current situation?
“As a matter of fact, the medical and health salary structure also has been reviewed last in 2009. It is also 13 years now, and they are due for review. The health service structure and all other salary structures including even the core civil service have not been reviewed. The provision of those agreements provided that every three years those agreements should be reviewed, but nothing has been done up till now.
“I think we should have learned some lessons from what has happened recently in the tertiary institutions and proactively look at those other sectors that have similar challenges that needed to also be addressed at this point in time. I mentioned just a few of them, the medical and health salary scale, and also that of the judiciary, which was last reviewed in 2009. It is a wake-up call and we must do needful and act now before it is too late. The workers are becoming very restive because the challenges in the economy are affecting every worker that is on fixed wages. It is high time we proactively looked at those issues instead of reacting to where Unions raise the issues.”
On the need for the cost of living allowance, Wabba said: “I can say without missing words, if you look at the figures, particularly inflation figures, unemployment figures, the challenge in the social sector, it is clear that our economy is not doing well. Basically, we have no reason for the economy not to do well because we are a country that is well-endowed. Yes, people may say, the challenge is global, but solutions have to be found locally. As I speak, many countries around the world are finding solutions locally to respond to global challenges.

“The challenge in the economy and the high-wire inflation trend is a global phenomenon. But every country is responding locally to the challenge. In my capacity as the President of the International Trade Union Confederation, ITUC, which represents not less than 205 million workers in 163 countries, I have visited many countries. The last one I visited was Tunisia where I had the rare privilege of having a one-on-one with the President of Tunisia. From the conversation we had, I have been able to understand that they responded effectively to increased salary across the board with 7 per cent.”