he President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Mr Ayuba Wabba, has appealed to employers to show respect for their workers’ sacrifice.
Wabba gave the advice in a statement entitled “A worthy sacrifice for a workforce“ issued on Tuesday in Abuja to mark the 2021 Eid-el-Kabir.
He said that elected political office holders, administrators in the bureaucracy and employers in the private sector must not forget workers sacrifice.
According to him, so many times the labour and sacrifice of workers are held in contempt by those who should appreciate them.
“Employers hold workers in contempt and trample upon the sacrifice they make when they owe workers arrears of salaries and deny them the minimum wage.
“In recent times we have witnessed increasing waves of hostility, scorn and contempt on the labour and sacrifice of Nigerian workers by some elected political office holders.
“Despite earning some of the lowest wages in Africa, Nigerian workers are usually the first to be laid off en masse and at the drop of a hat.
“We want to use the opportunity of this year’s Eid-el-Kabir to appeal to the conscience of employers in Nigeria to show some respect for workers’ sacrifice, ’’he said.
He also said that workers were not slaves to be used, sapped, and tossed aside, pointing out that workers were partners in progress.
He said employers and workers must all renew their commitment to making worthy sacrifices towards building a peaceful, prosperous, inclusive, secured, and sustainable society.
According to him, labour moves society forward and Nigerian workers deserve not just the minimum wage but a living wage.
“We demand wage justice now! State governors yet to fully implement the national minimum wage and the consequential salary increase belong to the league of politicians who pour contempt and scorn on the sacrifice of Nigerian workers.
“Employers who deny workers social protection benefits regard workers as no better than slaves.
“Elected political office holders, who believe that paying workers their salaries as when due is a misplaced priority, have a misplaced sense of judgment. Such do not deserve our respect.
“On this Eid-el-Kabir, workers must not wait for any political office holder or employer to confer worth on our sacrifice, ’’he said.
The NLC president also called on government to take utmost caution not to criminalise social dialogue.
According to him, social dialogue can only be meaningful when every party comes to the table in good faith.
“Government being the custodian of the ideals of our collective civilisation must embrace social dialogue with utmost good faith. Peaceful protest is a form of social dialogue.
“Peaceful protesters must not be harassed, humiliated, brutalised, maimed, imprisoned or killed. Violent crushing of peaceful protest sends a very dangerous signal that civilisation and indeed our shared humanity have failed.
“The government as the embodiment of our sovereignty must ensure we never get to that point,’’ he said.
Wabba also said that as we celebrate the Sallah this year, we must all be mindful of the prevalence of the third wave of COVID-19.
He said that it has afflicted many countries of the world with the very virulent Delta variant.
He urged all citizens and workers to be on guard and take necessary precautions, urging dutiful frontline workers not to let down their guard.
He also urged them to continue to religiously observe COVID-19 handling and treatment protocol.
Wabba, while speaking on the celebration of the Eid-el-Kabir, reminded Muslim faithful of the mercies and benevolence of Allah.
“Eid-el-Kabir is very significant in the life of every Muslim due to the virtues and values that it conveys.
“ The celebration of Eid-el-Kabir reminds us of the loving provision and sacrifice of Almighty Allah which has continued to sustain humanity.
“We urge the Muslim Ummah to use the occasion of this Sallah to pray for the forgiveness of sins, peace in our country, for the safe return of all victims of hostage-for-ransom all over the country and for prosperity.
“There can never be development without peace and security. We urge those who feel aggrieved with the state to give peace a chance.
“We appeal to those who feel wronged by the system to give peace a chance. We implore those who feel shortchanged by society to give peace a chance,’’ Wabba said.