Ayuba Wabba, president of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), says one of the union’s finest hours with President Muhammadu Buhari was when he released bail-out funds for states to offset arrears of salaries and pension.
Wabba said this during a congratulatory visit by the leadership of the organised labour to the president in Abuja, on Thursday.
Speaking during the visit, the labour leader assured Buhari that the workers are partners in progress with the government.
He said Buhari’s intervention was timely for many workers, noting that the president did the right thing.
“Government and labour are primarily partners in progress. The success of government is linked to its workers. And the success of workers is linked to government,” he said.
“We all remember the special bailout, Paris club refund and budget support package you introduced to support state governments during the recession.
“Your directive during this intervention was state governments must offset accumulated arrears of salaries and pension liabilities. I remember your publicly and openly asked state governors, ‘how do you manage to sleep at night when the salaries of workers in your state are not paid?
“For us, that was one of the finest moments we have had with any president in this country. Your Excellency, I can stand here today and say your intervention was the difference between life and death for many workers.
“We also commend you for paying off the pension and accumulated entitlements of disengaged staff of Nigeria airways and many other pensioners whose pension had been left to accumulate by successive governments. Despite the recession, you did the right thing.”
Wabba urged the president to focus on developing all sectors of the economy.
He appealed to the national assembly to quickly pass the national minimum wage act while asking Buhari to sign it into law within the shortest possible time.
He also urged Buhari to inaugurate the boards of National Pension Commission (PENCOM), National Insurance Fund Trust, the Micheal Imoudu National Institute for Labour Studies and National Labour Advisory Council.
According to the him, these bodies are key pillars in labour-government relations.
“The activation of the boards will surely ensure our successes to date are taken to the Next Level. Please be rest assured we are ready to do our bit,” he said.
In his response, Buhari thanked the union and said he was looking forward to “labour’s continued support and engagement.”