Nigeria’s three major labour unions – NLC, TUC, and ULC – threatens to begin a fresh nationwide strike on November 6, if the FG fails to meet their demands on the new National Minimum Wage of N30,000 as agreed.
This was made known on Sunday in a statement jointly signed by Mr. Ayuba Wabba, President, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Mr. Bobbio Kaigama, President, Trade Union Congress (TUC) and Mr. Joe Ajaero, President, United Labour Congress (ULC). News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the unions had said that the New National Minimum Wage Tripartite Committee had concluded negotiations and agreed on N30,000 after an appeal by the Organised Private Sector (OPS).
According to NAN, Sen. Chris Ngige, the Minister of Labour and Employment, briefing newsmen at the end of the FEC meeting, hinted that the Tripartite Committee on the National Minimum Wage had not concluded its negotiations. It also reported that the Governors had proposed N20,000 while the Federal Government offered N24,000.
The statement jointly issued by the three labour unions read in part: “A nation where the government owes its workforce several months in arrears of unpaid salaries has not sought ways to eliminate it but is rather seeking ways to gag same workers from protesting this crime against them and their families.
“It is akin to beating a child and denying him the right to cry. Has the government considered “No pay, No Work?”. Has it considered criminalizing non-payment of workers’ salaries? Has it considered paying arrears of salaries with interests?
“Of course, it has not! They are only interested in “no work, no pay” seeking ways to constantly gag and put workers in a straitjacket has always been their pastime”.
NLC President, Ayuba Wabba said since the government appears to be unwilling to accept their demands, the unions have agreed to organise a one-day National outrage and mourning, to enable them sensitise Nigerians on the workers’ plights and issues at stake. He also stated the lines of actions to be toed:
“This shall take place in all states of the Federation including Abuja on Tuesday, the 30th day of October 2018 and a meeting of various organs of the Unions will hold as appropriate.
“On Friday, Nov. 2, a Joint Central Working Committee (CWC) meeting of all the Labour Centres in Nigeria shall hold to receive reports and make final preparations for our ultimate engagement with the Federal Government on this matter.
“This is the first time in the history of this nation in recent times that such meeting will take place and this goes a long way to show the seriousness with which Nigerian workers and its leadership hold this matter.
“If nothing is responsibly done by the Federal Government to meet our demands, on Monday, Nov.6 we shall embark on a nationwide strike,’’ he said.
Wabba emphasized that the efforts are geared towards making government show more sensitivity to the plight and sufferings of Nigerians. He called on Nigerians and workers not to be discouraged in the struggle for the new National Minimum Wage and debunked the news making the rounds that the organised labour had proposed N30,000 as the new National Minimum Wage.
“It is also not true that the committee did not agree on a figure during its last sitting. We accepted N30,000 as a compromise to demonstrate the willingness of Nigerian workers to make sacrifices towards nation building.
“Anything to the contrary no matter the quantum and character of the din or how well couched it may appear cannot be true.
“Resorting to Goebbelsianism at this time of national emergency, which requires men and women of integrity is rather unfortunate and cannot suddenly make the brazen falsehoods truths.
“We believe that it has become necessary for the Organised Private Sector (OPS) as represented in the Tripartite Committee to speak up on this matter.
“Keeping silent in the face of this apparent mischief does our nation no good. It can only help mischief, dishonesty, and impunity to grow,” Wabba said.
The NLC President, however, said it was time for the OPS to rise to the occasion by telling Nigerians what transpired in that meeting. He added that they should tell Nigerians whether there was a consensus on a final figure or not.
“If there was a document signaling this agreement that had already been signed by some parties?
“If also the N30,000 figure was ours or a compromised figure based on proposed scenarios,”’ he said.