Minimum Wage: NLC threatens to embark on total strike

Ayuba Wabba addressing the press.
Ayuba Wabba addressing the press.

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has said it will commence an indefinite nationwide strike after the expiration of the 14-day ultimatum given to the federal government which will elapse on September 26.

The union had earlier said the ultimatum will officially commence on September 12.

Ayuba Wabba, NLC president, said this while addressing journalists at the end of the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the congress on Wednesday in Abuja.

Mr Wabba said the industrial action would become necessary if organised labour’s demand to reconvene the tripartite committee on the national minimum wage for workers was not met.

“NEC has resolved that at the expiration of the 14 days industrial action notice issued to the federal government over the new minimum wage issue and if the demand of the organised labour was not met, we will embark on strike,” the president said.

According to Mr Wabba, ”NEC in session has expressed disappointment at the manner in which the tripartite committee unilaterally adjourned the meeting.”

The union insists the committee concludes its work within the stipulated time frame.

“NEC expresses serious concern at the unilateral adjournment of the negotiation of the new minimum wage by the Federal Government on the day the tripartite committee was expected to complete its assignment,” he said.

The president said the action of the committee ”is against the principle of collective bargaining as provided in International Labour Organisation (ILO) Conventions 98 and 131 on Minimum Wage setting process, which Nigeria had domesticated.”

“NEC has given the National Administrative Council and the leadership of organised labour the power to declare an appropriate industrial action or any action it deems necessary,” he said.

“NEC also resolves that all its affiliate unions and the 36 state councils of congress and the FCT and joint action front should communicate the decision of NEC to their members and all workers,” he said.

The labour leaders cautioned the federal government against foot-dragging on the new minimum wage.

Also speaking on the recent controversies surrounding the leadership of the Labour Party (LP), the NLC said it has received the ‘report of political coalition’ on the challenges facing the labour party.

“The party is registered by trade unions, NLC and TUC, civil societies allies, market women, artisans, and others,” the president explained.

Mr Wabba said a former governor of Ondo State, Olusegun Mimiko, has no business hijacking the party’s structures. He also insisted that ”an existing judgement” involving the party be respected and enforced.

Mr Wabba said the congress has the (registration) certificate of (LP) and ”anyone seen with another (certificate) is an impostor”.

“For the avoidance of doubt, we will display to the press the certificate of the party (that) is in the custody of NLC. We are presenting the original certificate and anybody claiming to be the owner of the party is only an impostor,” he said.

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