Workers’ Day: Different Moods Witnessed In Southern Nigeria
It was a colourful display by civil servants resident in Lagos State as they held their Workers Day rallies at the National Stadium in Surulere.
Leaders of labour unions including the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) spoke to workers on the need to uphold the values that guide their conduct as professionals in their disciplines.
The leaders also called on federal and state authorities to improve welfare packages while resolving persisting social economic challenges.
Akwa Ibom Deviates
The 2016 Workers day celebration in Akwa Ibom State took a different dimension from the traditional approach as workers in the state chose to mark the day with a Christian inter-denominational thanksgiving service.
Over the years, workers day has been associated with complaints and demands from the leadership of organised labour but what happened in Akwa Ibom State on May Day 2016 was a deviation from this age long convention as the state chairmen of the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress led the workers in a thanksgiving service preceding the conventional Workers Day celebration.
The workers offered prayers of thanksgiving in appreciation for God’s divine protection. They sang and danced.
The second part of the event featured good will messages from stakeholders and government agencies.
The NLC Chairman, Comrade Etim Ukpong and the TUC Chairman, Comrade Akamba Awa highlighted some pending issues which require government’s attention.
Governor Udom Emmanuel acknowledged the role of Labour in the socio-economic development of the state and country and gave the assurance that his administration would continue to give priority attention to workers’ welfare.
Some of the workers who spoke to Channels Television said that although the state government is not owing them salaries, they want the review of the national minimum wage from N18,000 to N56,000 as demanded by the NLC.
The event which was held at Uyo Township Stadium recorded a high turn out by workers.
Low Turnout in Oyo State
The turnout at the Lekan Salami Stadium, Ibadan, venue of the Workers Day rally in Oyo State was at an all-time low as most of those present were artisans while civil servants appeared to have boycotted.
The Oyo State branch of the Nigeria Labour Congress said that this year’s Workers Day celebrations is a time of great sober reflection as workers are suffering untold hardship as a result of unpaid salaries and the extreme inflation of prices of daily commodities in the market.
The NLC Chairman in Oyo State, Waheed Olojede, in his address commended the efforts of government at fighting insecurity in the country and implored both the federal and state governments to urgently devise better means of settling the huge labour bills pending across the country or face mass action.
In his goodwill address to workers, the Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi, who was represented by the Head of Service, Soji Eniade, expressed appreciation for the understanding shown so far by labour leaders.
He charged them to help government boost its revenue as government cannot function without the civil service.