As Nigerian workers today join their counterparts globally to mark International Workers’ Day, commonly known as May Day, the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, has described the last year as terrible and excruciating for workers and other Nigerians.
This came as workers in the petroleum, electricity, maritime, manufacturing and other sectors, decried the present level of misery, poverty and hopelessness across the country.
They urged the incoming government to address the worsening poverty, insecurity, unemployment, inflation, high cost of living and frustration in the nation.
Speaking with Vanguard on the conditions of workers in the last year, NLC General Secretary, Emma Ugboaja, said: “The last one year has been torturous for Nigerians, especially workers in every sector.
‘’Tertiary education has been severely fractured, the manufacturing sector has been comatose as energy supply, layoffs and high cost of doing business have characterized the sector.
‘’There was no growth due to the inability of operators to access foreign exchange to buy raw materials, spare parts and other necessities. This impacted negatively on the workers, stagnated wages and worsened unemployment and poverty in all sectors.
“Road transportation was among the worst hit because the supply of petroleum products was disrupted in most parts of the year to the extent that besides the scarcity, the prices were prohibited and unaffordable.
“The health sector has remained in a sorry state. Government officials are comfortable driving government vehicles, they are comfortable living in government houses and among others, but uncomfortable going to government hospitals. It has been terrible.
‘’The cost of living has been criminally high, unemployment, poverty and insecurity of life and property are just beyond description. The last year was really bad.”
On expectations of the incoming government, the NLC scribe declared: “We expect the struggle for the rights and welfare of workers to be more intense because when President Buhari made a famous quote in the earlier part of his eight years regime to say he wondered how state governors went to beds and slept knowing that workers were being owed huge arrears of salaries, he was speaking directly to the pains and feelings of workers.