The United Labour Congress (ULC) has described the proposed industrial action planned by organised labour following the ultimatum issued for the full implementation of the new minimum wage, and the consequential adjustments of salaries for civil servants as a failure.
The ULC in a statement issued by its President, Joe Ajaero, added that the labour centre will not be a part of the exercise that ‘makes a mockery of the genuine struggle by Nigerian workers’.
In series of meetings this week, representatives of the organised labour made up of the Nigeria Labour Congress, the Trade Union Congress and the Federal Government have failed to reach an agreement on percentage increase in salary for civil servants from levels 7 to 17.
“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 mobilizing all the national stakeholders and Civil Society organisations such as Market women, Students, faith-based organisations, Community Associations etc? Why the concerted effort to ensure that the critical sectors that would make for a successful strike are consciously sidelined?
“Obviously, 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 without shutting down the economy which is the effect a nation-wide strike ought to have. Markets will be open, Road, Maritime and Air transports will work, Filling stations and Depots will operate, banks will work and generally, the economy will go about its business as if nothing has happened so, where is the effect of such action? he asked.
According to Ajaero, the minimum wage increase which the ULC was a part of at the initial stage has been subjected to ‘abuse and battering’, and Nigerian workers should not be forced to negotiate from a position of weakness.
“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 and peoples.
“Unfortunately, this strike will not have the desired impact and would not achieve the intentions Nigerian workers would want as it is seemingly; dead on arrival as programmed by the hidden interests pushing the agenda.
“ULC will not, therefore, be part of an exercise designed to hoodwink Nigerian workers and masses into believing that their interests were being championed while the contrary may be the case. 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,” the statement added.