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Demand for pay rise, strikes not peculiar to Nigeria – Ngige


NGIGEThe Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, has said Nigerians will not die but will  adjust to the economic hardships in the country.

The minister, according to a statement on Sunday, argued that economic hardship and agitation for pay rise by workers were not peculiar to Nigeria but were a global phenomenon caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war.

Ngige reportedly spoke after receiving the Business Day “Excellence in Public Service Award” in Abuja.

He said, “The other day that I passed through Bailey, they said airport workers were on strike, only for four days. When I passed through London, the railway workers were on strike, only for three days.They are all demanding more pay.

“Workers demand for more pay is not peculiar to Nigeria but the problem everywhere in the world today as a result of global economic crunch, occasioned by COVID-19, the war in Ukraine and other things that make it look like everybody will die today.

“We will not die today. We only have to adjust both as individuals and as a country in order to survive the crunch.”

On how to stem the tide of perennial strikes in the country, Ngige said the International Labour Organisation recognises “social dialogue” as the best methodology for addressing industrial issues.

According to him, whether the problem is demand for more wages or quest for better conditions of service, once discussions commence on a round-table, it must be given a social face.

He, however, regretted that in Nigeria, people choose to disobey the law, rather than do the right thing, while those who obey the laws and insist on due process were condemned as “odd”.

Earlier, while presenting the award, the Publisher of Business Day, Frank Aigbogun, congratulated Ngige “on how you have distinguished yourself. We congratulate not just you but your team in the ministry, including the Permanent Secretary, directors and staff. We thank you so much for the service and proudly say that you are an example.”

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