By Eunice Idugie
Some casual workers attached to the Edo State Ministry of Environment, today, July 3, 2023, protested over poor remuneration which they claimed was insufficient to be their living wage bill.
The workers who are mainly women, were engaged by Edo State Government as street sweepers in Edo State.
They decried their poor working condition and the N17,800 (Seventeen Thousand, Eight Hundred) Naira monthly salary.
The protesting women were dressed in their overall work jackets, and brandished placards with different inscriptions, such as, “We are tired of N17,820 monthly payment.”
Another had: “Increase our salaries,” among others.
The leader of the protesting women – Madam Gloria Efosa told reporters at the Secretariat of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, Edo State Council, that, they have been working with the N17,800 minimum wage that was increased by former Governor Adams Oshiomhole’s administration, and that they have approached the General Manager, of Edo State Waste Management Board, Mr. Charles Imariagbe, but they turned back and told that they are not part of Edo State government workforce.
“Since Obaseki became governor, we have been working with the minimum wage that Comrade Adams Oshiomhole’s administration increased.
“When we went to the General Manager of the Waste Management Board (Mr. Charles Imariagbe) he told us that, we don’t have employment letters and that Obaseki said that he does not know us as his workers.
“But if they want to do anything, they will come and pack us to go do cleaning for them.
“On Saturday, July 1, after we have finished doing our job, they came and packed us to go and clean up dirt in New Benin Market.
“After they used us to do the dirty job, we wanted to talk about the poor pay, but they did not allow us to talk about it and that is why we are here.
“With the Nigerian economic situation, what will somebody buy with N17,800?
“If you have five children, how do you pay rent, school fees, and feed with #17,800? That is why we are here, they even blocked us at Urokpota Hall.
“A woman blocked us on the road and told us that if we protest at the government house, we are going to lose our jobs. We are tired, that is why we are here.”
Madam Gloria told journalists that one of their colleagues was killed on duty on the 18th of April,2023 and nothing was given to the family as of today.
“One of our colleagues was crushed by a hit-and-run car, while on duty on the 18th of April. She was taken to UBTH mortuary, but they rejected it because she was badly crushed and nothing has been given to the family.”
Responding, the Chairman Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) Edo State Council, Comrade Festus Alenkhe told the protester to go about the protest peacefully and not allow miscreants infiltrate their midst.
He also pleaded with them to also give him a chance for negotiation, if need be.
“You have to go about it peacefully, don’t allow those hungry boys to infiltrate your midst. You have the right to ask for an increment in your salary.
“We will consult the management of the Edo State Waste Management Board for us to hear from them.” He said.
Reacting, the General Manager of Edo State Waste Management Board, Charles Imariagbe, said the matter is before them and that they are considering increasing their take home.