The President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba, has faulted Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, for describing workers as ‘micro minority’.
While appearing as a guest on Channels TV’s Sunrise Daily, Wabba accused governors of paying illegitimate salaries to political appointees.
El-Rufai, had unveiled plan to sack some public servants in the state for fiscal reasons.
“The public service of the state with less than 100,000 employees and their families) cannot be consuming more than 90 per cent of government resources, with little left to positively impact the lives of the more than nine million that are not political appointees or civil servants.
“It is gross injustice for such a micro minority to consume the majority of the resources of the State,” the governor said in a statement announcing his intention.
Reacting, Wabba said El-Rufai’s comment was a disregard for the efforts of the workers who ensured the smooth running of his administration.
He expressed regret that El-Rufai made such a comment despite the efforts of health workers to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the country.
“Political officers holders are not earning on the basis of ability to pay. But when it comes to workers, you now say no ability to pay. Government must lead for other employers of labour to follow. Government must look at itself as the representative of the people.
“The primary purpose of a government is security and welfare of the people.
“How can you say our armed forces, doctors, nurses, and other utility service providers are a tiny minority. That is the type of thinking from a governor. How many politicians do we have and see how much they are consuming.
“If you put it side-by-side, what the workers are earning is legitimate. What the political officeholders are earning is illegitimate.”
The labour leader also clarified that the current wages cannot meet up the cost of living in Nigeria.
“A bag of rice today is N30,000. If you have a family size of eight – in one month, you cannot be eating rice, you have to pay rent. When you look at the cost of living index, it is clear that it is not something that can sustain a worker. Even daily pay now is N2,000 per day and when you put that together it is N60,000
“Yet, in a structured economy like Nigeria, we are in a very sorry situation. The situation continues to degenerate.
“Recall that the first minimum wage by Shagari in 1981 was more than $125. Today, it is not more than $60 because of the dwindling fortune of our economy.
“Those that are not paying, certainly, don’t mean well for Nigeria and our system.”