The Chairperson. Lagos State Council of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Funmi Sessi said on Friday that the challenges faced by workers were enormous because the inflation rate of 18.17 per cent has reduced the value of the N30,000 minimum wage.

According to her, the news of the minimum wage was no longer exciting to workers because of the increase in prices of many items as well as the increased electricity tariff.

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She emphasized that the workers are suffering these increases because of the incompetence of the government. Noting that the prices of items in the market have skyrocketed and as a result, N30,000 minimum wage has lost its value.

Sessi said, “There is an economic downturn in Nigeria, which was not created by the workers but because of bad leadership and bad policies of our government.”

She also noted that COVID-19 pandemic added to the challenges facing worker in the country because workers were at the receiving end of the pandemic, with many private companies sacking people in droves and with no intervention from the government.

Sessi cited the Kaduna State governor who has sacked about 50 per cent of the workforce in Kaduna as example of employer who lacks technical understanding of how he can come out of the economic downturn.

While urging all workers to mobilize and have strategic thinking to guide against job losses, she also prayed for God’s intervention.

Also speaking on the effect of COVID-19 pandemic on workers, the Chairman, Osun State chapter of NLC, Jacob Adekomi said the pandemic affected the attendance of workers at their workplace.

He added that, “There was a time the government gave a sit-at-home order to decongest the secretariat; this affected the workers negatively. We are back to our workplace and everything is going on smoothly. We pray we do not witness such a thing again.”

Adekomi said the workers were fully prepared for the International Workers Day celebration this year, since it was not observed last year.

He added that May Day is a celebration of workers’ achievements and a time to ask for more from the government like Oliver Twist.

Across Lagos, Ogun and Osun states, May Day celebration would be observed with a march past on Saturday at the various states’ stadiums and in adherence to COVID-19 protocols.  In Lagos, only those with access cards printed by the government would be allowed into the stadium.