Unions threaten fresh showdown with FG over minimum wage

NLC President Ayuba Wabba want living wage for workers not minimum wage
: warns of a nationwide strike 6 November over

Three major unions in Nigeria said they will call out workers on nationwide strike on November 6, if the Federal Government fails to meet its demand on the new National Minimum Wage of N30,000 agreed upon.

Mr Ayuba Wabba, President, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) made this known on Sunday in a statement jointly signed with Mr Bobbio Kaigama, President, Trade Union Congress (TUC) and Mr Joe Ajaero, President, United Labour Congress (ULC).

The News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) recalls that the unions had said that the Tripartite Committee on the New National Minimum Wage had concluded its negotiations and agreed on N30, 000 following an appeal made by Organised Private Sector (OPS).

NAN also reports that the Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige at the end the Federal Executive meeting, while briefing newsmen, had said that the Tripartite Committee on the National Minimum Wage was yet to conclude its negotiations.

NAN recalls that the Governors made a proposal of N20,000 while the Federal Government made an offer of N24,000.

Wabba said since the government appears unwilling to cave in to their demands, the unions have resolved to organise a one-day of National outrage and mourning, which would be used to sensitise Nigerians on the workers’ plight and on the issues at stake.

“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.

He added that this would compel government to show more sensitivity to the plight of Nigerians and the suffering that is decimating our people on daily basis.

Wabba also called on Nigerians and workers not to be discouraged in the struggle for the new National Minimum Wage.

He explained that it was not true that 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.

Wabba added that they should tell Nigerians whether there was a consensus on a final figure.

“ If there was a document signalling 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.

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