Minimum Wage: Labour Leaders Are Traders, Ignore Their Strike Threat, Timi Frank Tells Nigerians

Timi Frank

Comrade Timi Frank, political activist and former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of All Progressives Congress (APC) has told Nigerians not to take the leadership of the nation’s labour unions serious over their threat to call out workers for a strike if the government refuses to pay the N30,000 minimum wage.

Frank described the labour leaders as ‘traders’ and said that they had compromised to the extent that they could no longer fight for the welfare of their members.

While reacting to the latest threat by the organized labour to go on strike if the federal government refused to meet their demand, the political activist, in a statement made available to journalists on Friday, urged Nigerians to ignore the threat, saying the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) cry came too late.

He lamented that with the current imposed charges on telecommunications providers, Value Added Tax (VAT), increased bank charges, proposed tollgates and partial closure of land borders, the N30,000 minimum wage had become useless.

He maintained that already, on every recharge card Nigerians buy there would have 5% charged as VAT. He wondered why burden-some policies on the common man by the APC’s Government.

Frank said he believed that the labour leaders were making empty threats so as to be seen as serving the interest of their members while they wined and dined with top government officials.

The activist recalled that during former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration more attention was given to Nigerian workers’ plight, like Trade Union Congress (TUC), NLC, Academic Staff Union of University (ASUU), Health workers and others, pointing out that they were always in the news for one demand or the other and frequently embarked on strike and demonstrations, but he said they could no longer bite because most of their leaders had become card-carrying members of APC.

“The Buhari-led federal government promised the Nigerian workers heaven on earth before the general elections but has been complaining of no money to pay workers just N30,000. When it is time to use money for elections, the administration will not mind dipping hands into various revenue-generating agencies to prosecute their selfish agenda.

“The money being looted daily under the current administration is enough to pay even more than N30,000 as minimum wage to Nigerian workers but no one will blame the government because the current labour leaders are weak and compromised. They have been used and dumped by the same administration and they can only bark and not bite” he said.

The activist said the politicised labour union was one of the problems of Nigeria as they had refused to take action to resist bad policies of the government. He wondered how the Buhari-led government would accomplish their pledge to bring out 100 million Nigerians out of poverty when it had refused to pay N30,000 as minimum wage.

He stressed that all over the world, labour unions were always the first to speak up against the unnecessary increase in taxes, bad policies and other actions that had a direct bearing on the citizens but in Nigeria, most of the leaders had compromised and turned a blind eye to the plight of their members.

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