Hopes to thwart the planned industrial action by organized labour may have dashed after the meeting conveyed on Monday, October 29, by the federal government of Nigeria to discuss the country’s new minimum wage ended on an inconclusive note.
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the United Labour Congress (ULC) have threatened to resume strike on November 6, if the federal government fails to heed the demands of Nigerian workers for increase in minimum wage.
The unions, which had initially demanded for N56,000 as the new minimum wage, now reduced it to N30,000, while the federal government and state governments are offering N24,000 and N20,000, respectively. State governors are insisting that they should be allowed to set their own minimum wage, as many of the states were hardly able to pay the subsisting one.
Labour unions are saddened that state governors could work against the N30,000 minimum wage while still expecting workers to vote for them under the current political dispensation. Yesterday, the Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, the minister of labour, Chris Ngige, the minister of finance, Zainab Ahmed, and six governors were in attendance at the meeting which held at the presidential villa, Abuja.
It was however gathered that the federal and state governments failed to yield to the pressure from the organised labour to agree to its N30,000 demand. Instead, they insisted on N24,000 and N20,000 respectively. A governor, who spoke with newsmen after the meeting, said the meeting ended inconclusively.
He said though the governors were willing to pay the N30,000 new minimum wage demanded by workers, they lack the capacity to do so. The governor said an emergency meeting of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum would be convened on Tuesday and the decision of the governors would be made known after this.
Bear in mind that the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, had said last Thursday that N30,000 as minimum wage for civil servants was not feasible even if public office holders sacrificed their pay. Meanwhile, ahead of November 6 nationwide strike, organized labour are currently holding mass protest across the country today as part of sensitization of workers and Nigerians for the planned industrial action.
In a circular to its affiliates and state’s councils across the country, ULC, through its Deputy General Secretary, Chris Oyeka, said: “This is to inform you that sequel to the several consultations among the leadership of organised labour in Nigeria over the apparent decision of the federal Government to sabotage the National Minimum Wage Negotiation; the following decisions were taken that there shall be a national day of outrage and mourning by Nigerian, workers all over the nation.
Tuesday, October 30, 2018, has been chosen for that action. “All state councils are, therefore, to collaborate with the other two labour Centres (NLC and TUC) in their respective states to make this day a success. It is a day set aside to show our indignation and anger over the way workers have been treated in Nigeria and to mourn the death of truth, transparency and good governance in Nigeria.
‘’We shall also sensitize Nigerians on our plight as workers and citizens and the need for national resistance. “Do also be informed as you mobilise for the planned Nationwide Strike on Tuesday,that on the 6th of November, 2018, UMI’s CWC will meet to take further decisions which will culminate into the joint CWC meeting of the three Labour Centres (ULC, NLC and TUC) where final decisions will be taken on the strategies for the Nationwide strike.
You will be informed if there is any further decision that may arise from these CWC meetings.”