Some Anambra residents have reacted angrily to the 2023 Workers’ Day celebration as workers called for better wages and said workers’ situation has been very pathetic.
They said this in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Awka.
One of them, Chief Chris Eluemunoh, former Chief Press Secretary to the old Anambra Governor, Chief Jim Nwobodo, said that no Nigerian worker could comfortably boast of using his ‘take home pay’ to meet his basic needs at home.
He said that Nigerian workers recently appeared to be slaves serving their masters at their mercies.
According to him, at the end of their service to the nation they cannot afford a decent living in Nigeria of today.
Eluemunoh said that workers had nothing to celebrate, rather they live in a pathetic situation which could only be corrected by good governance from leaders who are responsive to the yearnings of workers.
He urged the government at all levels to take a deep look at the plight of workers as the engine house of growth and development of the nation’s economic and social sectors and pay them their worth for decency sake.
Eluemunoh said that plans like transportation preference system could be built into the nation’s government system where transport system are made available for workers to use daily as they o to work to ensure they save money for their family development.
“This system allows workers to board and enjoy government transport system provisions as they are being picked up for work at designated bus stops or a functional train stations where they park their cars and ride to work by these buses.
“This services help workers to save double expenses on transportation from their meager salaries and in turn repairs the wear and tears on their vehicle from same poor remuneration.
“With high cost of living and increase in fuel price, tell me how a worker could be comfortable without a good wage to show for their services.
“Workers struggle to have a home accommodation close to their places of work, that is almost unachievable as most workers live in shanties.
“Some workers travel from their villages, some travel as far as Onitsha to go to work at Nnewi, Awka, Asaba, Enugu, and some from hinterland, where they pay exorbitant fares to go to work but at the end of the month there is nothing to show for their services, it is a serious matter,” he said.
Eluemunoh said that government needs to provide housing for workers to make life easy for them and afford them the opportunities to train their children in schools and provide other social amenities needed for human growth and development.
He said that government needs to cut down on the volume of governance style, reduce pay of state and federal legislators and other political appointees in other to encourage Nigerian workers on high productivity devoid of corruption through increase in salary packages.
Eluemunoh said that labour leaders should be more articulated and focused in packages that would motivate Nigerian workers on high quality drive to increase the economic bank of the country with keen interest.
“lt is a country’s workers that drive the force of its development and as such they are not to be placed at the lowest ebb,” he said.
Eluemunoh said if workers were cared for reasonably, the idea of workers’ migration would be a thing of the past because nobody in right mood would leave his/her country to go serve another country where due recognition might not be given as required.
He encouraged the Nigerian workers to continue to serve the nation patriotically while they engage their leaders to vigorously pursue their welfare to build the face of workers as very key personality in the nation’s development.
“I pray and wish for a quick intervention for Nigerian workers so they can afford a decent and good life for themselves and all their dependents.
“If Nigerian government looks in the direction of housing, transportation, medical care and security of the workers, corruption in the public sectors would be well checked and a sane society will emerge,” he said.
Also, Mrs Patty Anagor, a Civil Servant, said that the situation the workers had found themselves was unexplainable.
According to her, no serious projects can be executed from a worker’s present pay while raising up their children and building a healthy home.
Anagor said that it was hoped that the incoming government should look seriously into workers welfare and gave a pay rise that could make the workers have a decent living and migrate from pitiable status to a status of reckon.
She said that such a gesture would promote high ethical standard among workers which in reverse would bring out the best abilities of the workers in doing their duties.
“As the worker gets to a retirement age, fear will grip him because there is no solid plan on ground for him,” she said.
Also, another worker, Mr Christian Beluchukwu, said that the incoming government should look into the areas of physically challenged workers and retirees.
He said this was to ensure that human face policy should be made for such people.
Beluchukwu appealed for programmes to cushion the effects of the harsh economic situation on workers.