Biobelemoye Josiah, the National President of the Medical and Health Workers’ Union of Nigeria, has appealed to the Nigeria Labour Congress to maintain its demand of N56,000 during negotiations for minimum wage with Federal Government.
Josiah said this at official reception ceremony organised by Association of Medical Laboratory Technicians and Assistants of Nigeria in honour of the MHWUN national president and other members in Abuja.
The Federal Government has inaugurated a 30-man Tripartite Committee for negotiation of new national minimum wage for workers in the country.
Josiah said: “We have a trusted leadership that will not allow government to use the minimum wage issue as means of scoring political points.
“We are certain that should government try to employ delay tactics for any self-gain, our leadership will pull out.”
He added that NLC had earlier made it clear that it wanted N56,000 as new minimum wage and as responsible body, it would not require NLC to continually change its position.
According to Josiah, if the political class is demanding to be paid like their counterparts in the U.S., they should also consider paying the working class like their counterparts abroad too.
He said: “The current minimum wage in the US is $1,600 and here in Nigeria, our minimum wage is less than $40.
“I want to emphasise that the more government puts in workers, the more they will be productive and there will be no need for anyone to think of looting.”
Josiah called on Federal Government not to delay the minimum wage issue, saying the wellbeing of the citizens, including workers, was among the constitutional responsibilities of government.
He said: “I want to appeal to government to give the people proper earning power to actually move the economy of this country to the next level.
“It should be noted that the working class runs the local economy, especially in non-industrialised economies like Nigeria.”
He also urged Federal Government to fulfill its agreement on salary adjustment entered with the Joint Health Sector Unions.
Josiah, who is also the National Chairman of JOHESU, noted that the union suspended its indefinite strike embarked on September 20 following government’s promise on the salary adjustment.
We suspended our strike following Federal Government’s promise to approve the adjustment of the salary in five weeks.
Josiah said: “We as health sector workers love the health of Nigerians, and on our own we are doing our best.
“However, counting from October 4, 2017 till now, it is well beyond five weeks. So, if we do not get that adjustment, Nigerians should bear with us.”
Earlier, Sir Tosan Erhabor, the acting Registrar, Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria, said the council had commenced inspection of medical laboratories nationwide.
Erhabor said the implication of this was to protect the profession from infiltration of quacks and protect the health of Nigerians through regular inspection.
He said: “We are determined to rid our country of quackery and illegal practice, so we are calling on AMELTAN members yet to be registered to do so immediately.”
Emmanuel Qwurong, the AMELTAN National President, said the event was organised to commend its members for their hard work.
Qwurong added that there were lots of challenges faced by the association which included the lack of furniture, office equipment and liaison office space in the FCT.