THEY LABOUR IN VAIN | S. O. K. Shillings Esq.

Labour is about embarking on a usual journey. The minimum wage must be increased! Logically, there is no gainsaying it. The harsh reality demands it. Labour proposes over N400,000.00 while the Government proposes N57,000.00 even when some states have agreed to N70,000.00 and there is a stalemate as parties are unrealistic and the never-serious FGN shuns negotiation. That was how it has been with ASUU and its perennial problem with FGN.

In 1992 when I received a letter curling me back to school, I immediately wrote my resignation from work. A friend who was as candid as I could be with a friend confronted me and called me 'stupid'. He contended that I could have tarried more as salary increment negotiation was ongoing.

I told him I would not care for 3 reasons. A critic does not commit sins as I would be guilty forever. Negative respite often creates lasting problems. Most importantly, not less than 4 salary adjustments had occurred in my short career, none of them was sufficient to buy me a tyre; the next would not buy me a car. In fact, my last salary had lesser purchasing power than the first.

Labour activists suffer Nigerian workers for their lack of knowledge. They seek intrinsic upgrades and live in negative respites. Workers sometimes see Labour as a pain in the neck. When there is a long strike action, they lose because they do not live on salaries. In fact, a government that will instill full discipline and remove corruption will have a battle with workers in Lagos and Abuja especially. But it must and will happen one day.

Labour leaders are clenching fists and chanting 'solidarity' anthems culturally for more money. Money that will be swallowed by the magical multiplier in weeks and months. They will not labour to look at the main problems and solidarise. 

What is the position of labour on the creation and sustenance of 37 states and ubiquitous local governments with thieves all around and about? What is its position on corruption? On bicameral legislature? On subsidy? Presidential democracy? On sponsorship of pilgrimage? On ASUU strikes? Purchase of expensive foreign SUVs for legislators and presidential yachts?

They came for Jews, you claim not to be one. For Muslims, you are not one. When they came for blacks, you claim to be light-skinned. When they come for you, there will be nobody. This Nigerian ship is sinking fast from the weight of bad governance structure, the culture of sleaze, dearth of productivity, waste, sectionalism, etc. We have to jettison. The civil service killed Nigeria. More than half of published thefts are made by civil servants. They only use the politicians as scapegoats and allies. Governments borrow to pay salaries. Labour cannot jettison its wages that have become part of the burden. But what is at stake is bigger than wages. 

The wages of sin is death. They 'labour' in vain.

S. O. K. Shillings Esq.

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