Calabar: No minimum wage, no 2019 elections, NLC warns

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…Kano gov’t pledges to pay N30,600 as minimum wage‎ ***

The Cross River State Chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress, (NLC) warned on Tuesday that its members will not participate in the 2019 general elections, except the Federal and State governments implement the N30,000 new minimum wage.

The Government of Kano State however restated on Tuesday, its determination to pay the new minimum wage of N30,000, even with additional N600.

The state NLC Chairman, Mr John Ushie, made the declaration in Calabar, during a peaceful protest in Calabar to press home the workers’ demand for the implementation of the minimum wage.

Ushie said that the current minimum wage of N18,000 had become obsolete since 2015, and accused the Federal Government of playing on the intelligence of workers’ by holding several fruitless meetings to avert strike.

The chairman decried the long period the minimum the wage bill had been with the Presidency with no plans of transmitting it to the National Assembly for passage into law.

“Labour will continue the struggle until we get victory. Victory does not come easy, it will require all our energy, and it will require us to put all.

“The minimum wage is long overdue since 2015. Workers have run out of patience, so we are here to take our destinies in our hands.

“We are here to protest because it is a national directive; we will do so until we get a commitment from government concerning the N30,000 minimum wage and when it will be enacted into law.

“Secondly, we are here to send a message to President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately transmit the minimum wage bill to the National Assembly for passage, so that the money can get to Nigerian workers without further delay.

“If the Federal Government and governors say no to minimum wage, we also say there is no vote for them; no election,’’ he said.

He said that the rally will culminate into an indefinite strike if nothing was done quickly by the Federal Government.

Also, Mr Boniface Isok, a national officer of the NLC, who said he was in Calabar to monitor the rally, maintained that workers would not participate in the 2019 general elections if the minimum wage was not implemented.

Isok said that the organised labour would not hesitate to embark on an indefinite strike if the Federal Government failed to transmit the bill to the National Assembly.

“Anytime the Federal Government heard that we want to go on strike, they will fix a meeting with no reason for it. This time, we are not giving a notice for strike.

“The Federal Government wants to hold the 2019 general elections without implementing the minimum wage because they know that once the election is held, that becomes the end of the minimum wage.

“If the Federal Government does not sign the minimum wage bill into law, there will be no election. We are ready for them this time,’’ he said.

Meanwhile, the Government of Kano State has restated its commitment to pay the new minimum wage of N30,000 and even with additional N600.

Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano disclosed this when members of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) staged a peaceful protest to the government house on Tuesday in Kano.

He said that his administration has given priority to the welfare of civil servants in the state.

Represented by his Deputy, Alhaji Nasiru Gawuna, he said that Kano state was among the few States in the country that pays monthly salary on time.

“We are ready to pay N30,000 monthly salary because welfare of our workers is paramount to anything and we will always give it preference.

“We will pay the N30,600 as soon as all processes are completed,” he added.

Ganduje then urged ‎women and youths to stay away from drug abuse and addiction due to their harmful effects to health.‎

‎”Our women, particularly married women and youths must say no to drug abuse and addiction. They should stop abusing it because it will ultimately damage their systems and cut short their lives,” he warned.‎

‎Earlier, the NLC Chairman in the state, Mr Kabiru Minjibir, commended the governor for his commitment to pay the minimum wage of N30,600.‎

‎”We are not surprise for this kind gesture taking into consideration your labour friendly disposition.

“We also urge your excellency to convey our polite gesture to your co-governors to enlighten the public on new national minimum wage and it’s speedy enactment into law,” he added.