Angry workers in their thousand disrupted the 2017 May Day celebrations at the Eagle Square, Abuja, over the failure of the Federal Government to give them a new minimum wage in the country
The workers insisted that the Federal Government had a responsibility to give them a definite position on the lingering issue of a new minimum wage in the country.
The workers were also angry that neither the President nor the Vice President was at the event to address them on the grave issues of survival affecting them.
The incensed workers rejected all entreaties by their leaders to calm them down as they chanted ‘No! We need a new minimum wage.’
They insisted that the N18,000 minimum wage has become inadequate to feed their families and indeed to survive in the face of the biting effects of the economic recession in the country.
Trouble started when the Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Biola Bawa was called to read the address of the Minister, Senator Chris Ngige who was representing the President.
Some of the workers insisted that if the President could not attend the rally to address them; he would have sent the Vice President instead of the Minister and also infuriated that the minister would be represented at an event in which he was physically present, responded in boos, shouting “No! No!! No!!! We don’t want you!”
Even when the Minister stepped forward to address the workers, they refuse to allow him speak, the angry mob started singing, “Ole! Ole!! Ole!!! Minimum wage! Minimum wage!!”, all efforts to make them return to their seat failed, forcing the minister to return to his seat angrily
The shout of go back to your seat by the leadership of both the NLC and TUC was greater with a loud no by the workers.
The labor leaders made another effort to re-establish peace, asking the former Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, himself also a former labor leader, to help pacify the workers. Oshiomole mounted the podium to appeal to the workers but he was also rebuffed by the workers, who told him to go away as they were not ready to listen to him.
In a interview with the National Enquirer, The National President, Agric & Allied Employers Union of Nigeria(AAEUN), Comrade Obafemi Oyenubi, commended NLC President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba and Deputy President Comrade Najeem Yasin’s efforts, called on the Federal Government to take Human capital issues as first the paramount step besides their war on corruption.
National President, Agric & Allied Employers Union of Nigeria(AAEUN), Comrade Obafemi Oyenubi
” This is our day but Nigeria workers are not happy with the situation in the country. Proper things are not done that’s why it comes to this, they are angry for many things”
Comrade Oyenubi went ahead to compliment the efforts of NLC President and Deputy.
“They are doing all they can, I must commend them, but you know when one is in the midst of people who are not ready to really listen, it force you to a corner, they are doing there best,” He assured.
However, he affirmed dire support and willingness to fight for issues that concerns workers’ welfare and take- homes.
Medical and Health Worker’s Union of Nigeria (MWHUN) National President, Comrade Biobelemoye Josiah
Meanwhile, Medical and Health Worker’s Union of Nigeria (MWHUN) President, Comrade Biobelemoye Josiah vented his mind concerning
Principle of ‘No Work, No Pay’ and Suspension Theory of some employers as not principle of equity and natural justice anymore to Nigeria workers’ case, that it supposed to be “No Pay No Work”, aggrieved worker’s are being left in the rain and how all those led to actions witnessing today.
” No work, No Pay, instead of No pay, No work” doctrine is very unfair to Nigeria workers” it is all these that accumulated to these angers. Government should take this as serious issue and made it a point of urgency to address these areas especially minimum wage, pay salary, pension, grantuity and promotion”, He advised.
He went further to speak on situation whereas anti-corruption crusaders like whistle blowers are being victimised and sacked , while those that joined corruption crusade are absolved and cheered.
” Take corruption out of the system and let’s cost of government administration be made cheaper, When corruption win, we lose. But, when corruption loses, we win”, he concluded.
At this stage, the workers who had become tired began to leave the square en-mass, forcing the rally to end in chaos.
More security had to be drafted into the Eagle Square arena to protect dignitaries invited for the celebration, forming a barricade to prevent the protesters from getting to the invited guest.
The police subsequently chased the workers from the podium and engaged in a running battled with them, thereby creating a distraction which enabled the dignitaries in the state box to escape, the protesting workers took over the podium chanting “we don win, we don win”.
The workers, therefore, undertook a parade in the absence of any government officials and dignitaries