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Today: June 17, 2024
May 1, 2024
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EDITORIAL: Unhappy workers’ day

As we mark Workers’ Day today, May 1st, a sense of urgency and concern grips us, compelling us to shed light on the dire struggles of Nigeria’s workforce. Instead of celebrating, we are forced to confront the harsh realities that have pushed our workers to the brink. The writing is on the wall – it’s time for action.

The minimum wage has been left in the dust, failing to keep pace with the runaway inflation that has reached a staggering 33.2% – the highest since March 1996 (according to the National Bureau of Statistics).

This has left workers drowning in a sea of rising costs, with food inflation hitting a staggering 40% – the highest since August 2005. It’s a perfect storm that has pushed the most vulnerable to the edge. The minimum wage must be increased to match the economic realities; anything less would be a recipe for continued poverty and hardship.

State governments must also take responsibility for their dereliction of duty, failing to pay workers’ salaries on time. It’s a slap in the face for those who toil day and night, leaving them in a state of financial limbo.

Paying workers on time is not only a moral obligation but also a legal requirement. We urge state governments to take immediate action to clear the backlog of unpaid salaries and ensure prompt payment henceforth. The clock is ticking.

The ongoing fuel scarcity crisis and food inflation have added fuel to the fire, pushing workers to the limit. The government must take concrete steps to address these issues, which have resulted in increased transportation costs, food prices, and overall hardship for workers.

We call on the government to develop and implement effective solutions to these crises, which are having a disproportionate impact on the most vulnerable segments of our society. The time for rhetoric is over; it’s time for action.

In contrast, countries like Sweden, Germany, New Zealand, Denmark, Canada, and Finland have shown that prioritizing workers’ rights and well-being can lead to happier, healthier, and more productive workers.

These countries have implemented policies that support work-life balance, high minimum wages, and robust social welfare systems. It’s time for Nigeria to take a cue from these examples and prioritize the well-being of its workers.

In conclusion, as we mark this Unhappy Workers’ Day, we demand a fair minimum wage, timely payment of salaries, and urgent solutions to the fuel scarcity and food inflation crises.

Our workers deserve nothing less. Let us work together to build a more equitable and prosperous Nigeria for all, where the fruits of labor are shared fairly and the dignity of work is respected.

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