Minimum wage: Labour commences indefinite strike

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The Organised Labour comprising the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) has declared an indefinite strike commencing Monday, lJune 3, 2024.

The unions made the declaration in Abuja on Friday, May 31, 2024.

After several meetings with the federal government which mostly ended in stalemate, both parties have been unable to find a common ground on a new take home pay for Nigerian workers.

Briefing newsmen in Abuja, NLC President Joe Ajaero and TUC President Festus Osifo said the strike had become necessary as the federal government appears recalcitrant to add up the N60,000 it offered at the resumption of the tripartite committee meeting held today.

While accusing the government of abandoning the meeting, the unions’ leaders noted that there was no serious representation both from the federal government or from the state governors who were supposed to be part of the negotiations.

They said: “The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) express grave concern and disappointment over the federal government’s failure to conclude and pass into Law a new National Minimum Wage Act and reverse the vexatious hike in electricity tariff to N65/kwh.

“Today’s meeting further demonstrated the unseriousness and apparent contempt with which the Nigerian state holds the demands of Nigerian workers and people. No governor was present and Ministers absent except the Minister of State for Labour and Employment who doubles as a conciliator.

“There was none present on the side of the government with appropriate authority to commit them to any outcome; in essence, government abandoned the meeting. We consider this disdainful and shows lack of commitment to a successful National Minimum Wage negotiation exercise.

“Nigerian workers, who are the backbone of our nation’s economy, deserve fair and decent wages that reflect the current economic realities. It is disheartening that despite our repeated calls and the clear ultimatum issued, the government continues to neglect its responsibility to the workforce. It has rather than engage in a dialogue persistently raised its attack dogs to seek to denigrate and intimidate trade union leaders.”

The unionists added: “In light of this persistent inaction, we, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), hereby issue a notice of commencement of an indefinite nationwide strike to the federal government.

“We reiterate that since the National Minimum Wage negotiation exercise has not been concluded and the agreed wage passed into law; the hike in electricity tariff not reversed, and categorisation of consumers into Bands not stopped as demanded; Nigerian workers are compelled by these failures to embark on an indefinite nationwide industrial action beginning on Monday, the 3rd of June, 2024 to press home our demands.

“The NLC and TUC are united in this cause, and we call on all our affiliates and state Councils, Civil Society Organisations, market men and women and the general populace to prepare for a decisive action.

“We cannot and will not accept any further delays or excuses. The welfare of Nigerian workers and people is non-negotiable, and we are ready to take all necessary steps to ensure that their rights are protected and their voices heard.

“We regret the inconveniences this refusal of the federal government to heed our demands may cause all of us but we assure you of our determination to pursue this cause to its conclusion.”

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