by Adefolarin Olamilekan
Are the states governor serious and ready to ensure the prudent and transparent usage of the bailout funds, especially to take care of workers wages and welfare? Evidence abounds that workers in most states are still owed their salaries.
The NLC and TUC must ensure, workers are not short changed or neglected in this matter. If the workers do not step fast and are not vigilant, the politicians will appropriate these funds for frivolous and self-centred programmes.
What are workers wages without a full living wage? Are we just going to demand that workers welfare are giving first line charge or made to maintain the current status quo? The minimum wage needs to be increased to compensate workers for inflation and devaluation over the last five years.
We need counter arguments that blame the majority of state governors for their inept leadership quality. They must not sacrifice workers welfare as a remedy to cover their lazy wastage. As the motto of the NLC says “Labour create wealth” to this end, workers deserve their wages, no matter what is the level of the economic crunch or downturn. As Karl Marx opined “Labour is the foundation of the society”.
We need to echo emphasise the previous Socialist Worker’s cover page headline “Fight for N66,000 minimum wages now!”. Research by the TUC shows that workers need N66,000 a month to be able to live a reasonable life.
The NLC and TUC, as well as other solidarity groups, see the need for an immediate upward review of the minimum wage. This is the only way workers can overcome the hardships they face. As the article pointed out, the struggle over the minimum wage is thus a “manifestation of the class struggle, representing an essential progressive reform. To this end it is a fight for workers to win a larger share of the wealth they create”.
Socialist Worker has called for a mass campaign for the living wage of N66,000 as minimum wage now. It is imperative to say that this campaign should not be left in the hands of of the trade union bureaucracy alone.
All solidarity groups should come on board. We need to pursue this goal together, against the antics of the bosses who will resist the demand. As Joseph Choonara argued “Wages are subject to day to day pressure that workers can bring to bare… through their struggles, and they vary in accordance with changes in the labour market”. We need collective militant action now to ensure that we win a living wage for all workers.