Festus Osifo, president of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), says Nigerian workers have fared worse under the President Muhammadu Buhari administration than the previous governments.
The union leader spoke in a chat with Arise TV on Monday.
Chris Ngige, minister of labour and employment, had earlier said the Buhari administration had done enough for workers in the country.
He said that the government treated workers better than its predecessors, adding that the administration had steered clear of entrenchment due to the state of the economy.
“This government has done a lot in terms of labour administration, and my ministry is at the centre of it,” he said.
“I can tell you without any fear of contradiction that this is the first government in Nigeria that has not done retrenchment of workers because of the paucity of funds or because the economy is bad.”
Reacting to the minister’s comments, Osifo disagreed that workers enjoyed better welfare under the Buhari administration.
He said despite the increase in the minimum wage, “the purchasing power of an average worker has been eroded” by inflation and foreign exchange rates.
“I do not agree that Nigerian workers have fared better under the administration. It is not correct in any way. I could hear the minimum wage was moved in 2019 from N18,000 to N30,000, but the question is what was the worth of naira in 2019, and what is it today?” he asked.
“The plight of Nigerian workers has not been good and if you look at the cost of things in the market since 2019 compared to where we are today then that will also speak volumes.
“Not to talk of inflation which has reduced the purchasing power of an average Nigerian. In terms of the economy, the average Nigerian worker has been bartered. And when we talked about the issues of security, it is a no-brainer to realise that where we were before now was actually better.”