COVID-19: Oshiomhole warns state govts against cutting wages of workers

COVID-19: Oshiomhole warns state govts against cutting wages of workers

Friday, May 1, 2020 12:04 pm

Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole

Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, the National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC has warned state governors against resorting to cutting the wages of workers in response to reduction in their revenue as a result of Covid-19 pandemic.

There have been fears that state governments may have to reduce their wage bills by sacking workers or reducing their salaries because of the shortfall in revenue from the federal purse, following the crash in price and demand for oil in the global market. Already, the Governor of Kaduna State has announced a reduction in wages of up to 50 per cent for its workers during the lockdown declared to stop the spread of the pandemic.

But Oshiomole, a former President of Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC in an article published to mark Labour Day warned against cutting the wages of workers while appealing to state governments to “be sensitive to the poor condition of workers in determining trade-offs as policy options are considered in this crisis.”

He said, “For instance, cutting wages is most unhelpful in the circumstance. It’s like asking an anaemic patient to donate blood to save the lives of other patients in need of blood transfusion.

“A doctor who does that should have his licence withdrawn. So, a policy adviser who recommends wage cut is abysmally unconscious of the mood of the present which is that compassion and solidarity.

“State governments should not make workers bear a disproportionate part of the burden. When you cut a workers’ poor wage, you are further limiting his power to be an economic player.

“How can the worker make effective demand for the goods and services produced when you shrink his income? It can only bring about a vicious cycle of poverty.

“Rather than cut wages or retrench, state governments should do away with avoidable overheads to reduce the cost of governance.”

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