CENTRE FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE
May 1, 2017
STATEMENT OF CENTRE FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE ON THE OCCASION OF THE 2017 WORKERS DAY
Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) felicitates with Nigerian workers on the occasion of the 2017 Workers Day. CSJ believes that this is an occasion for sober reflection, re-assessment of strategies by workers; governmental re-dedication to the rights of workers, increased productivity and growth of the economy.
We recall the protection of the rights of workers and the working class to an adequate standard of living as indicated in the standard setting Universal Declaration of Human Rights [(article 25 (1)], the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights [article 11 (1)] and a plethora of other international, regional and national standards. We further recall the aphorism that a worker is entitled to the fruits of his or her labour.
CSJ notes with regret that the minimum wage in Nigeria cannot under any reasonable criteria suffice to give workers anything near an adequate standard of living. It amounts to less than $50 for a whole month’s pay. It may not even qualify as a slave wage. It is dehumanizing, a misery wage and an affirmation of the gross inequality in the Nigerian governance system. It not only discriminates against workers, especially the lowly paid ones, but subjects them to inhuman and degrading treatment.
The division of the labour centres through fragmentation of the labour congress is not in the interest of the working class. This division reduces the strength of organized labour which is in strong need of re-unification, speaking with one voice and focusing on the larger issues of governance. It is also imperative for labour to reclaim its position of pride as the leading force in presenting alternative view points for the economic governance of the nation. This should include strong viewpoints on fiscal, monetary, trade, industrial and labour policies.
CSJ therefore calls on organized labour to campaign vigorously for an increase to the minimum wage to such a level that will guarantee an adequate standard of living; reunify the labour movement; reclaim its position in economic governance through evidence led analysis and alternative viewpoints. This may involve the setting up of think tanks. This inter alia is the minimum expectation of the working people in Nigeria.
Eze Onyekpere, Esq
Directors: Eze Onyekpere Esq, Dr. Jane Francis Duru, Dr. Uzochukwu and Kalu Onuoha Esq.