The Nigeria Labour Congress has said it will no longer enter into any
negotiation with the federal government on a new minimum wage for
NLC, an umbrella bodies for workers, made the position
of labour known on Sunday, even as it declared that workers would
commence a total strike on Tuesday as scheduled.
The General Secretary of the NLC, Peter Ozo-Eson, disclosed this during an interview with The Punch on Sunday.
He said, “The
strike is going on. Nothing has changed. The strike will begin on
Tuesday. That is the directive that has been given. It will be a total
Asked if oil workers would join the strike, Ozo-Eson
said, “All trade unions in the country have agreed to go on strike and
we expect every union to go on strike from Tuesday.”
On negotiations between the Congress and the Federal Government, Ozo-Eson said, “Negotiations
have ended. Yes, we have a meeting of the tripartite committee on
Monday and we will attend as long as it is to sign the report of what
has been agreed. We will sign that so that it can be submitted to the
government. We will not change our position.”
Muhammadu Buhari had on November 27, 2017 approved the appointment of a
30-member tripartite National Minimum Wage Committee for negotiations on
a new national minimum wage for the country.
The committee comprised representatives of the government, organised labour and the private sector.
organised labour collectively demanded that the minimum wage be
increased from N18,000 to N65, 000 but all parties were said to have
agreed to N30,000 after over a year of negotiations.
However, the government announced N24,000, a move which caused the unions to declare a strike.
The crisis deepened last week when the Nigeria Governors Forum reviewed the minimum wage further to N22,500.
reminded that the National Industrial Court had reportedly barred the
unions from embarking on strike, the NLC general secretary said the body
had not been served with the court processes and was therefore unaware
of the development.
He said, “We are not aware of any court order
and we have not received anything from the courts. We have not been put
on notice and so we are not aware of any court order. We have given the
required notice of strike; we have given the required time of notice
and we will after the expiration of that notice proceed on strike unless
the government does what it is expected before the strike begins.”
Sanusi Kado of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria in Abuja had on
Friday reportedly given an order stopping the strike following an ex
parte application moved on behalf of the Federal Government by the
Solicitor-General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary, Federal
Ministry of Justice, Mr Dayo Apata.
The judge said the order of
interim injunction was made due to the urgency of the matter and the
need to protect the overall interest of the public. He directed that the
orders stopping the planned strike be immediately served on both the
NLC and the TUC.
Labour leaders shun parley with FG
as labour leaders made the position of workers known, Abuja members of
the organised labour on Sunday shunned a meeting called by the Federal
Government as part of efforts to stop the nationwide strike.
despite the failure of representatives of the labour unions to attend
the meeting, some government officials and members of the organised
private sector met behind closed doors at the Office of the Secretary to
the Government of the Federation with the Secretary to the Government
of the Federation, Boss Mustapha; Minister of Labour and Employment,
Chris Ngige; Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, and some permanent
Mustapha, who spoke before the meeting went into
closed session, gave an indication that the tripartite committee on
national minimum wage set up by the Federal Government would be
concluding works on its report on Monday.
He said the Federal
Government was waiting for the report to commence processes leading to
the enactment of a law on the new minimum wage. He explained that the
report would still go through the National Economic Council and the
Council of State before an Executive Bill would be sent to the National
Assembly on the issue. The SGF said the outstanding issues left for the
committee were to harmonise the 15th chapter of the report, harmonise
figures and submit report to the President.
Mustapha said, “I
assure you that the government is waiting for the report and will
immediately set up processes required for implementation. Hopefully,
their work would be concluded when they meet tomorrow (Monday) and
append their signatures to the report.
“They will then transmit
to me and I will seek an audience with the President to present it to
him. The report will go through NEC, Council of State before a draft
executive bill will be sent to NASS.
“I am awaiting the report of
the committee. They will meet tomorrow (Monday) at 11am. Mustapha said
ability to pay was critical in taking a decision on the minimum wage. He
noted that a lot of states were still finding it difficult to pay the
current minimum wage. He recalled that the Federal Government instituted
bailouts for the purpose of helping the states to meet up.
Judiciary workers declare intention to join
judiciary workers under the aegis of the Judiciary Staff Union of
Nigeria said on Sunday they would abide by the directive of the NLC to
proceed with the industrial action.