Great Nigerian Workers, I am highly delighted to be present with you on this Auspicious Day marking the 2017 International Workers Day otherwise known as May Day.
Today, we stand in solidarity with workers all over the world to commemorate this historic Day which marked a turning point in the economies of nations and the welfare of the working class. Let me as always commend the steadfastness of the two Labour Federations viz the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), and Trade Union Congress (TUC) in ensuring that this year’s celebration is observed under peaceful and harmonious industrial relations atmosphere.
Fellow Comrades, today’s event reminds all of us of the great sacrifices and contributions the working class has made and continues to make towards wealth creation in the overall interest of our National growth.
As a responsible and labour friendly Government, my Administration will continue to accord high priority to the welfare of workers irrespective of whether they are in the formal or informal sector of our National Economy.
My dear Nigerian Workers, your theme for this year’s celebration ‘’Labour Relations in an Economic Recession: An Appraisal’’ is most apt given the economic recession we are currently experiencing as a Nation.
The careful selection of the theme by the leadership of the Labour Movements demonstrates your concern and commitment in working with my Administration to push our economy out of this recession. I am indeed encouraged that by this theme, the Nigerian Workers have resolved to synergize with Government in order to reposition our economy for the good of all Nigerians.
I am aware that the economic recession the country found herself at the beginning of the year has huge implications for the seamless conduct of industrial relations. This arises from the fact that economic recession by its nature is usually characterized by a substantial risk of the ‘’vicious circles’’ of low-productivity, mass retrenchment of workers and closure of workplaces due to high cost of doing business, unregulated subcontracting and outsourcing with its attendant consequences on welfare of workers amongst others.
In the face of these inevitable challenges, you have shown maturity and understanding in spite of the situation in which we found ourselves. I salute your great sense of patriotism and loyalty to the country.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, I strongly believe that the effective deployment of labour relations which is an amalgam of approaches could be used in creating a conducive work environment which would attract direct foreign investment for wealth and job creation. In this regard therefore, and anchored on our shared understanding of our predicament, Government, Workers and Employers can work together to pull out our economy from this recession. Therefore, I call on the Organized Labour to continue to partner with this Administration by resorting to social dialogue as an indispensable tool for conflict resolution instead of embarking on needless *strikes* which would do us no good at this critical moment in our National history.
Fellow Comrades, Let me express my deepest appreciation for your show of solidarity, support and encouragement to my Administration especially in the fight against corruption which had been the bane of our sustainable economic development and which has resulted in the current situation the country has found herself. My commitment to the fight against corruption is total and irreversible. We must fight corruption before it destroys us! I therefore call on the Organized Labour to join hands with us in ensuring that your teeming members imbibe this new doctrine of honesty, transparency, accountability and probity in doing Government Business. By our collective resolve and determination we shall eradicate corruption from our society.
As a matter of fact, the workers should be in the forefront of activities in the realization of the Whistle Blowing Policy of this Administration. Let me emphasise that an efficient labour relation is predicated on effective regulation, enforcement and compliance with due process. It is also about sustaining harmonious working relationships amongst the social partners in the world of work. It is about putting our human capacities for the overall development of our organizations and the country at large. It is about the sacrifices we make to ensure wealth creation for all. As we celebrate let us work our talk!
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan of this Administration which is a Medium Term Plan for 2017-2020 is specifically developed for the purpose of restoring economic growth following the challenges experienced in the almost two years of our Administration that resulted in the negative growth in the Economy. I am confident that with your support and cooperation and the strong determination of my government to ensure its full implementation, the three broad strategic objectives which include restoring growth, investing in people and building a globally competitive economy will be fully realized.
As you are aware, my Government set up a Government cum Labour Committee on Minimum Wage and Palliative following the liberalization of fuel pump price on the 17th May, 2016. This is sequel to the request made by the Organized Labour for a new National Minimum Wage and Palliatives to cushion the effects of the sharp increase in the pump price of Petroleum Products especially the Premium Motor Spirit (Petrol). This was despite our earlier Government Policy for National Social Investment programmes as emergency intervention against poverty. I am happy to inform you that Government will give expeditious consideration to the proposals contained in the Technical Committee’s Report which was submitted to it on the 6th of April, 2017.
Government will take the necessary steps to implement the final recommendation of the Main Government/Labour Committee as it relates to the setting up of the new National Minimum Wage Committee and the needed palliatives in order to reduce the discomfort currently being experienced by the Nigerian Working Class. Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, let me reiterate at this juncture that this Government will continue to do all at its disposal to better the lots of all Nigerians and more importantly to provide a commensurate welfare for all Nigerian Workers.
Finally, let me once again call on all Nigerian Workers to join hands with this Administration to build an Egalitarian Society that we all should be proud of as I wish you a Happy Workers Day.
Thank you and God Bless
*LONG LIVE THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA!*
* LONG LIVE NIGERIAN WORKERS!!*