Planned minimum wage strike ‘dead on arrival’ — Labour faction

Labour leader, Joe Ajaero
Labour leader, Joe Ajaero

The United Labour Congress (ULC) has condemned the planned strike by the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), describing it as “dead on arrival.”

The unions last week issued a threat to embark on a nationwide industrial action if the government failed to show commitment to the full implementation of the new minimum wage.

The labour unions also submitted their preferred percentage on the ‘consequential increase’ in workers’ salaries arising from the new minimum wage of N30,000 on Monday.

The federal government and the labour unions on Tuesday had the minimum wage/consequential adjustment meeting in Abuja. The meeting began at 2:45 p.m.

‘Dead on arrival’

In a statement signed by the faction, ULC’s President, Joe Ajaero, the union said ”critical sectors that would make the strike to be successful were left out of the decision”.

“We were part of the 16-man Technical Committee that gave birth to the Tripartite Committee on the Review of the National Minimum Wage and in which we participated vigorously in all the processes leading to its negotiation and the various struggles to deliver it for the benefit of Nigerian workers,” he said.

He said the ”dynamics of the struggle dictates that the union mobilise their constituents both primary and secondary to make for a successful strike”.

”A man that intentionally goes to war without its most critical weapons has prepared himself to fail. This is what is being projected out there in this proposed strike,” he said.

“Nigerian workers cannot be forced to negotiate from a position of weakness as in this case. Why would we want to go into a nation-wide strike without mobilising all the national stakeholders and Civil Society Organisations such as market women, students, faith-based organisations, community associations etc?”

He said the proposed nation-wide strike is designed to fail ”or at best watered down to achieve nothing but to bring few Nigerian workers on the street to dance and wave flags”.

He said the strike will not have the desired impact and would not achieve the intentions Nigerian workers would want as ”it is seemingly dead on arrival.”

The union also said it would not be part of the exercise.

“We will not be part of this ruse neither will we partake in a complete jamboree that makes a mockery of the genuine struggle by Nigerian workers to begin to enjoy the new national minimum wage,” he said.

He urged the government to show more responsibility towards the immediate implementation of the new national minimum wage.

President Muhammadu Buhari signed a new minimum wage bill into law in April 2019. But its implementation has been stalled over disagreements between the unions and government representatives.

The implementation of the new wage has remained a problem, arising from the issue of relativity and consequential adjustments.

On May 14, the federal government inaugurated the relativity and consequential adjustment committee, which set up a technical subcommittee to work out a template for the adjustment of salaries of public service employees.

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