Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the president-elect, promised workers a better deal under his administration, saying he would give them more than a minimum wage but a living wage that would guarantee a decent life and enable workers to provide for their families.
He also pledged to be a dependable ally of the country’s workforce once his administration is inaugurated on May 29, 2023.
These promises were contained in a solidarity message he personally signed to workers to mark this year’s International Workers’ Day.
Assuring the country’s workforce through the two central Labour unions – Nigeria Labour Congress(NLC) and Trade Union Congress(TUC) Tinubu said: “In Nigeria, I shall have the honour and privilege to lead from May 29, workers will have more than a minimum wage. You will have a living wage to have a decent life and provide for your family.
“In me, you will find a dependable ally and co-labourer in the fight for social and economic justice for all Nigerians, including all the working people.
“Your fight will be my fight because I will always fight for you. My plans for better welfare and working conditions are spelt out in my Renewed Hope Agenda for A Better Nigeria. It is a covenant born of conviction and one I am prepared to keep.”
Calling for the understanding of the workers, Tinubu advised: “The days ahead will, however, demand better understanding and cooperation from all sides, because leadership will require that we take tough and hard decisions so that our people and all Nigerian workers can live more abundantly.”
The President-elect solicited their support, asking the workers to join hands with his incoming administration in waging a must-win war against poverty, ignorance, disease, disunity, ethnic and religious hate and all negative forces that contend against the stability and prosperity of the country.
Celebrating and acknowledging the invaluable roles workers have played in nation-building, Tinubu said: “I join the rest of the world and all compatriots to celebrate Nigerian workers on this year’s International Workers’ Day. Today is a special day in most parts of the world, a day to salute and honour the working people whose hard work and sweat continue to oil the wheel of human progress and advancement.
“Today is significant in many respects. It is a day forged and born out of the struggle for workers’ rights and socio-economic justice. Since 1891, this day has been observed all over the world.
“In Nigeria, every May 1 is a special day in our national calendar. The public holiday we observe is not just to commemorate the contributions and sacrifices of workers to the well-being of our country. It serves both as a celebration of the rights of workers to dignity, decent wages and decent living, and more importantly, it is a testament to the critical role the labour movement plays in our march towards a stronger, united and more prosperous nation.
“Since 1945 when the railway workers and 16 other public service unions led the first General Strike to demand better wages as a result of the rising cost of living, the Labour Movement in Nigeria has always fought on the side of the masses of our country. It was no surprise that the Labour Movement added fillip, zest and energy to the struggle for independence by partnering with nationalists such as Nnamdi Azikiwe, Herbert Macaulay, Ahmadu Bello, Obafemi Awolowo, Ernest Ikoli and Anthony Enahoro among others.
“The Nigerian Labour Movement was also not found wanting during our struggle for the restoration of democracy. The Nigerian Labour Congress and its affiliate organisations – NUPENG, Textile Union, PENGASSAN, among others, collaborated with the pro-democracy leaders and groups to restore democratic governance in Nigeria in 1999 after almost two unbroken decades of military dictatorship.”