Former Chairman of the All Progressive Congress, Adams Oshiomhole, has criticised the strike action being implemented by the Nigeria Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress, saying their priority should have been centred on state governments not currently paying the national minimum wage of N30,000..
Oshiomhole, who met with Vice President Kashim Shettima at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, to congratulate him on the party’s victory in Kogi and Imo states, insinuated that the strike by the Joe Ajaero-led leadership was misplaced.
He said that as labour leaders, nothing stops them from holding political opinions but must draw the line when such opinions appear to be impeding their primary responsibilities.
Oshiomhole, who currently serves as a senator in the 10th National Assembly also carpeted analysts who speculated doom for the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) in Imo State, describing them mostly as arm-chair critics.
Oshiomhole’s reactions came on the heels of a current nationwide industrial action by the organised labour which has seen social and economic activities partially paralysed.
His words: “As a worker in the Senate, I don’t pretend over the fact that my first constituency, my permanent constituency, is labour. I can be removed as chairman of APC as I was removed. But I couldn’t have been removed as a labourer. I remain labour in heart and labour in views, and labour in my aspirations.
“I will expect that even as we speak now, the issue that will appeal to me will be the fact that, as we speak, we have states that are not paying N30,000. And those states are not being mobilised to go on strike.
The federal government had granted a N35,000 increase. Those discussions were supposed to be for and on behalf of not only the federal government but on behalf of all workers in Nigeria, including those employed by local governments and state governments.
on behalf of all workers in Nigeria, including those employed by local governments and state governments.
“The additional revenue accruing from the withdrawal of subsidy trickles down to the state and to the local government. Now, I would have wished that somebody at the NLC recognised that the hunger in the stomachs of federal employees is not any worse than the hunger in the stomachs of those state employees or local government employees.
“If these are the issues on the table, even as a senator, I will publicly support action against any government that thinks that we should lament away our hunger while the people do what they do. Unfortunately, this strike is not about those issues. And I think we have to be careful not to mix our political opinion with our responsibilities because the issues confronting workers are so many that they should become the priority.”
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