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You Can't Fight Corruption With Poorly Paid Workers, Textile Union Leader Tells Buhari

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General Secretary, National Union of Textile Garment Workers of Nigeria

(NUTGTWN), Mr Issa Aremu, Sunday, said Nigerian workers needed wage

increase that would lead to recovery.
Aremu in a statement issued in Kaduna, said that Nigeria might not

overcome the recession with the existing miserable pay of workers and

The statement read:
“Organised labour calls for prompt payment of the existing salaries by

states and local governments and urgent wage increase in both the private

and public sectors.
“Link with productivity improvement is the smartest and quickest ways to

stimulate the nation's economy.
“Recent CBN report on the economy and to a large extent, the latest report

of National Bureau of Statistics observes that weak demand for goods is

one factor responsible for low capacity utilisation of many private sector

“So to overcome the economic crisis, workers whose wages buy basic goods

and services must not only be paid on time but their wages must be

increased,'' he said.
“To this extent President Muhammadu Buhari must urgently constitute the

tripartite committee on the review of the current national minimum wage,''

he said.
The labour leader said that Nigerian workers had long been in depression

before the present recession because of the crisis of compensation

manifesting in salary arrears.
He said that the collapse of wages caused by massive naira devaluation and

price inflation of close to 20 per cent needed to be redressed.

Aremu said that the minimum wage of N125 in 1981 was equivalent to 240

“Then we had stable strong exchange rate and lower inflation. In real

terms, workers in 1981 earned more than the current N18, 000.00 minimum

wage,'' he said.
He said that the 2010 negotiated national minimum wage of N18, 000 was

about 120 dollars in 2010.
“With naira devaluation, it has unacceptably fallen to less than 45

dollars in 2016, a quarter of its nominal value in 2016 and less than 1

per cent of its value in 1981 about 40 years ago worsening income poverty.

“For Nigerian economy to recover, there must be massive public spending in

reconstruction and significantly mass spending by working people through

improved wages,'' Aremu said.
“You cannot fight corruption with poorly paid workforce; poorly paid

worker is not only hungry but rightly angry and even vulnerable to corrupt

practices,'' Aremu said.
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