NLC Protest Is About Hunger, Not Minimum Wage, Says Ajaero

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The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) says the two-day protest by members of the union is about hunger and not just a clamour for a review of the minimum wage.

While there was a meeting between the Federal Government and NLC authorities to forestall the protest, the dialogue ended in a deadlock.

But speaking on Tuesday, the president of the NLC Joe Ajaero said contrary to some claims, the union is not protesting only about a hike in the country’s minimum wage of N30,000

“You have to understand it. This protest is about hunger. What of those who are not working? The minimum wage, when will it be completed? When will it be implemented? What will be the minimum wage that will remove hunger?

The UN said that every the poorest man should be fed on $2 per day. That’s the poorest. And if you have a family of six people, $2 per day by six is $12,” he said while addressing the press in Abuja.

“In a month, you have $360 which translates to about N700,000. Is that the minimum wage you’re talking about? Is that what will feed you? That’s feeding alone. I’m not talking about transportation and accommodation. So what are we saying? What about medical? What are we saying?

“Well, you know, we don’t, we don’t tell them what to do. We will tell them how we feel. There was hunger in the land, but it wasn’t this bad until deregulation. And then after the regulation, we proposed all that we needed to. If they had solved the problem of transportation immediately, they would have solved almost 50% of the problem.

“Because even when you process garri in the village, you need to transport it to town. The expenses you incurred on transportation, you add it to the cost of garri.”

Ajaero accused the Federal Government of failing to meet the demands of the union since the removal of fuel subsidy which he said has led to a rise in the cost of living.

“So the moment they touch PMS, you can’t fill your tank with N30,000, N40,000. So the moment they touched it. We said, ‘OK, bring CNG buses. This is 7-8 months, no one bus is on the street,” the NLC chief said.

“So we have provided all those solutions, even the cash transfer. They are still telling us now that they will start the cash transfer and they were playing politics with it that they were diverting it to their accounts. After today, we review our situation and decide on other steps to be taken.”

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