TUC president reveals why workers disrupted Abuja May Day rally

Bobboi Bala Kaigama; TUC president

Bobboi Bala Kaigama; TUC president

The National President of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) in Nigeria, Bobboi Kaigama, has revealed the grievances of workers who disrupted this year’s May Day Celebration and barred top government officials from delivering their respective speeches.

Kaigama made the disclosure while addressing the media in Abuja late Monday night.

According to him, the workers were angry because the federal government had failed to resolve the lingering issues of arrears, training allowances, promotions, and minimum wage, some of which, he said, dated back to 2007.

The labour leader added that other issues like unpaid death benefits to families of deceased workers, and accumulated pensions due to the federal government’s failure to contribute its fair share to the pool of pension fund were also parts of the reason why the workers publicly embarrassed the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, Speaker, House of Reps, Yakubu Dogara, Minister of Employment, Labour and Productivity, Chris Ngige and other government functionaries at the Eagle Square ‎arena in Abuja.

Kaigama said: “Well, it was an unfortunate incident. But beyond that, I want us to realize that a hungry man is always an angry man.
“Nigerian workers have been so patient. They have these unresolved issues of arrears, promotions, some of which dates back to 2007. And then, you have other issues like death benefits, pensions have not been paid – those that are retired over a year ago have no access to their pensions because the federal government is not rendering its own contributions to the pool.

“The contribution that is in the pool is only that of the worker who cannot access the same until the two contributions are put together.

“When you talk of other issues like training allowances, first 28 days for people who are posted out of their current stations, and then to cap it up; the issue of the minimum wage which has been lingering.”

Defending the poor rate of productivity of an average worker in Nigeria, the TUC President said: “Productivity has a lot of parameters you use for measuring it. You must look at the working environment, the pay package, the welfare of the worker before you add these indices together and make up what you call Productivity Assessment Index (PAI).

“If the employer does not provide the working tools; if the employer does not provide the enabling environment such as conducive offices; if the employer does not pay the worker his salary as at when due giving and him his allowances which are genuinely due to him; if the employer does not pay the family of a deceased worker when the worker dies, and when you promote him, you don’t give him what is due to his new position; how can the worker be very productive?

“For instance, we have officers on levels 14, 15, and 16 who are still collecting salaries of level 10 after being promoted over and over.

“Obviously these things will bring about complain, anger, and pains on the part of the worker and lead the worker into withholding his best on the job.

“Also, the landlord would not prepare to listen to whether you are appropriately paid or not; transporters would not want to listen to you. When you get to the market, traders will not want to listen to your story that you have not been appropriately paid or that the inflationary trend is not commensurate with your salary increase and the vicious circle of low productivity continues.”

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