Minimum Wage: Labour Begins Nationwide Strike Today

Labour Strike

Despite earlier pleas from the federal government for consideration, the organised labour has today withdrawn their services in a nationwide strike to push for a new national minimum wage for workers.

The industrial action comes after a series of unsuccessful negotiations involving both the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) and federal government representatives at the tripartite committee meetings on the new minimum wage.

Negotiations, however, broke down on Friday last week after the government earlier in the week offered a marginal increase of N3,000 to the N57,000 offer it had earlier made to come up with a N60,000 minimum wage proposal, a figure deemed unsatisfactory by Labour representatives.

With today’s strike, the labour centres aim to pressure the government into offering a higher minimum wage. Both congresses insist on N494,000, which they consider adequate to reflect the current rising cost of living.

In letters directed to members, many affiliates such as the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE), National Union of Banks Insurance and Financial Institutions Employees (NUBIFIE), the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE), the National Union of Civil Engineering, Construction, Furniture and Wood Workers (NUCECFWW), and Medical and Health Workers’ Union of Nigeria (MHWUN) have concluded mobilisation for today’s nationwide strike.

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Other affiliates in conclusive mobilisation, as sighted by LEADERSHIP, include the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN), the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), the Nigeria Union of Railway Workers, the Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals (ANAP), and the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ).

Meanwhile, the National Assembly has took steps to mediate and avert today’s strike from taking place, but both parties failed to reach an agreement.

Meanwhile, the federal government has told the NLC and the TUC to continue with the negotiation and shelve their plan to embark on an ‘illegal’ nationwide strike action from today.

The attorney general of the federation and minister of justice, Prince Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, in a statement on Sunday described the proposed industrial action as “premature, ineffectual and illegal.”

He stated that the agitation for an increase in the minimum wage of workers in the country is currently being addressed, adding that the labour unions failed to fulfil the conditions precedent to enable them to embark on strike.

In a letter addressed to the two labour unions, the AGF noted that the federal government and other stakeholders involved in the Tripartite Committee on the determination of a new national minimum wage had not declared an end to negotiation.

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He argued that in view of the fact that the federal government and state governments are not the only employers to be bound by a new national minimum wage, it was, therefore, “vital to balance the interest and capacity of all employers of labour in the country (inclusive of Organised Private Sector) to determine a minimum wage for the generality of the working population.”

Besides, the AGF noted that an order of the National Industrial Court, NIC, which barred the two labour unions from embarking on any form of strike, is still extant as it has not been set aside.

He, therefore, urged the unions to reconsider their proposed strike and return to the negotiation table.

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