Labour Rules Out Strike Today, Await President Bola Tinubu’s Intervention | MarvelTvUpdates

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has announced that it will no longer meet today to decide on the resumption of the suspended strike to demand a new national minimum wage.

The NLC President, Joe Ajaero, disclosed this yesterday at the ongoing International Labour Conference in Geneva, Switzerland.

Ajaero said: “We cannot declare strike now because the figures are with the President.”

He added that the tripartite committee’s proposals were awaiting the President’s decision, and the NLC’s National Executive Council would deliberate on the new figure once it was announced.

“During the tenure of the immediate past President, the figure that was proposed to him was N27,000 by the tripartite committee but he increased it to N30,000. We are hopeful that this President will do the right thing. The President had noted that the difference between N62,000 and N250,000 is a wide gulf,” he said.

Ajaero berated governors who declared that they wouldn’t be able to pay a minimum wage of N62,000.

He said, “How can any governor say he cannot pay? They cannot also be calling for the decentralization of the minimum wage.

“Are there wages decentralized? Governors whose states are not contributing a dime to the national purse and who generate pitiable Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) are collecting the same amount as governors whose states are generating billions of dollars into the FAAC.

“They should decentralize their salaries and emoluments first.”

He praised Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, who is paying a minimum wage of N70,000, as an example to be emulated.

He said, “So, where is the governor of Edo state, Godwin Obaseki getting his money from? He is paying N70,000 minimum wage. This is the type of governor that should be emulated and not the lazy ones.”

Meanwhile, the ultimatum earlier given the federal government by organised labour to accede to its request of N250,000 new national minimum wage to avert a strike ends tomorrow.

There are strong indications that organised labour may resume its nationwide strike tomorrow. At midnight on Tuesday, the one-week window given to the federal government to wrap up negotiations on a new minimum wage expired.

The development followed deadlocked negotiations on Friday last week. The federal government offered N62,000, with labour proposing a different figure of N250,000.

Labour had previously suspended a nationwide indefinite strike to allow room for dialogue with the federal government; however, with little progress reported, they said that the outcome of the deadline will determine whether Nigeria will witness another nationwide strike starting Wednesday.

The assistant general secretary of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Chris Onyeka, who spoke yesterday in Abuja, said, “If after tomorrow we have not seen any tangible response from the government, the organs of the organised labour will meet to decide on what next”.

Onyeka stated that the responsibility now lies with the federal government and the National Assembly.

He said, “Our demand is there for them to look at and send a federal executive bill to the National Assembly to look at what we have demanded, the various facets of the law, and then come up with a National Minimum Wage Act that meets our demands.”

He warned that if their demands are not met by midnight today, labour unions will have to decide on the next course of action.

“It is not in my hands to tell you what we are going to do now, but it is in the hands of the organs,” Onyeka stated, noting that these decision-making bodies include representatives from all parts of Nigeria and various religions.

The current standoff arises from the federal government’s proposal of a N62,000 minimum wage, which labour unions have rejected.

Onyeka also clarified that the earlier nationwide strike was only paused, and if the organs decide to resume it, the strike would be reinstated immediately.

He also pointed out the broader implications of a strike, noting that a withdrawal of services would halt operations across various sectors, impacting the entire country. “If we withdraw our services, things will not work as they were working before,” he said.

Amidst the uncertainty, the 37-member Tripartite Committee on National Minimum Wage submitted its report to the federal government yesterday, recommending a new national minimum wage for Nigerian workers across the public and private sectors.

The committee, inaugurated on January 30, 2024, by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu under the Minimum Wage Act of 2019, was tasked with reviewing the existing minimum wage and advising on an appropriate increase.

After months of deliberations and consultations with stakeholders, the Alhaji Bukar Goni Aji committee has concluded its assignment.

The secretary to the government of the federation (SGF), George Akume, received the report on Monday and commended the committee for its commitment and sacrifices.

“The Tripartite Committee has undertaken a critical national assignment,” Segun Imohiosen, director of information and public relations in the Office of the SGF, said.

“Their report will guide the government’s decision on a new minimum wage that is fair and sustainable for both workers and employers,” he added.

However, details of the committee’s recommendation, including the proposed minimum wage figure, have not yet been made public.

Once the leadership of organised labour, government and private sector representatives return from the ongoing ILO conference in Geneva, Switzerland, a formal presentation to President Tinubu is expected.

Nigeria’s last national minimum wage increase was in 2019, when it was raised from N18,000 to the current N30,000 monthly rate.

Labour unions and workers have been calling for a further increase to account for inflation and the rising cost of living.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *