The leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to direct the payment of all withheld salaries of university workers in the country.
According to a report by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Mr. Ayuba Wabba, the NLC President, made the appeal in a resolution reached at the end of the National Administrative Council (NAC) of the congress in Abuja.
It will be recalled that due to “No Work, No Pay’’ policy of the Federal Government, the salaries of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and others were withheld for the period they were on strike.
“We urged President Muhammadu Buhari as a mark of goodwill to direct the payment of all withheld salaries of university workers.
“The affected university workers are finding it difficult to cope with the prevailing economic challenges in the country,” he said.
He said the congress also reiterated the call for a major wage review for workers in the public service.
Wabba said that the review was imperative given the considerably weakened value of the Naira against all the currencies of the world.
He noted that this has made the cost of living unreasonably difficult for workers and ordinary Nigerians.
According to him, “we find it necessary to explain here that there is a world of difference between the national minimum wage review and general wage review.
“Furthermore, it is quite important to remind the Federal Government that the last public sector wage review was done in 2011 and has since expired.
“The need for another review cannot be overstated given the excruciating economic realities in Nigeria today,’’ he said.
Wabba further said the congress also expressed huge concern and palpable alarm on the increasing incidences of citizens difficulties and insufferable stress in accessing basic services and utilities.
“From long petrol queues, to clandestine increases in the pump price of the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) also commonly known as petrol, to an illegal hike in electricity tariff, to a debilitating inability to access the newly re-designed local currency.
“There are also deliberate roadblocks mounted against citizens who desire to collect their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs).
“These are all signs of a nation in acute dire straits. It is sad, unfortunate and totally unacceptable,’’ he said.
He said the Federal Government must find ways in addressing the concerned issues.
“On our part as a pan Nigerian, progressive, pro-masses and pro-poor organisation, we would not fold our hands and watch Nigerians being taken advantage of in any manner.
“We call on those whose work it is to provide Nigerians access to affordable public services, amenities and utilities to undertake their responsibilities with utmost diligence and patriotism.
“Nigerian workers and citizens are not slaves. They deserve tolerable and indeed decent living conditions in order for them to continue to make contributions to the arduous task of nation-building.
“In light of this, we would want this statement to be a message to all those involved in these mischiefs and evil that we are mobilising our members across the country for a major protest,’’ he said.