Politics

Strike looms, as NLC, TUC reject governors’ proposed N22,500

Minimum Wage: Ogun workers threaten strike
Written by Maritime First

…Tell workers to prepare for strike***

Nigerians may now begin to stoke food at home against an unavoidable indefinite strike commencing next Tuesday, as both the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) totally rejected the N22,500 proposed by the state governors for the New National Minimum Wage in the country.

Both the NLC and TUC also addressed their members to prepare for the strike, even as the TUC said the Governors lacked the competence to negotiate with them on the new minimum wage.

The NLC president, Mr Ayuba Wabba while briefing newsmen on Wednesday in Abuja, stressing that there would be no going back on the issue of strike, until the Government agrees to pay the desired N30,000 as minimum wage.

It was against the backdrop of a communique issued by the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) after its meeting Tuesday, claiming that state governors can only pay N22, 500, as the new national minimum wage.

“We wish to reiterate our position adopted at our National Executive Council (NEC) meeting on Oct. 23 that any figure below N30, 000 will not be accepted by us.

“We call on our members to continue to mobilise in preparation for the commencement of an indefinite strike on Nov. 6, if by then necessary steps are not taken to adopt the recommendation of the Tripartite Committee,” Wabba said.

The NLC president also said that the NGF was not a negotiating body but merely a party in the negotiation for the convenience of state governors.

He also noted that the Tripartite Committee from inception sent letters to each state government to send their memorandum as their contributions to the new national minimum wage negotiating process.

The President, however, said that 21 states sent in their memorandum quoting figures.

“Second, the demand of organised labour is not N30, 000. Our initial demand is N66, 500. N30, 000 is the compromise figure arrived at the end of negotiations by the tripartite partners, which are the governors, employers and organised labour.

“The new minimum wage was a product of intense negotiation that lasted for almost one year,” he said.

He also noted that the governors had six representatives on the tripartite committee; one state governor represented each of the geo-political zones.

He said that the representatives of the state governors were part and parcel of the negotiating committee from the beginning to the end.

“It is important to note that the National Minimum Wage is not an allocation to workers but a product of negotiation by the tripartite partners”, Wabba stated further, adding that the unilateral pronouncement by governors is an abuse of every known principle of industrial relations, laws, processes and international best practices.

“Third, the NGF, erroneously, stated that the population of salaried workers is five per cent of the general population in Nigeria.

“This five per cent represent the nation’s workforce including teachers, health workers, police personnel, military men and women and among other workers labouring for the development of our country.

“Of what benefit are roads, rails and bridges without human beings to run them?

“Fourth, we are also very concerned about the huge pressure being brought upon the Organised Private Sector (OPS) to compromise their stand on the N30, 000 New National Minimum Wage.

“If we follow through the process of collective bargaining we stand by N30, 000 but if everyone decides to revert and begin to advance figure that are outside the agreement nothing will stop the organised labour from insisting on N66, 500.

“This pressure by enemies of the Nigerian people was what led to the recent statement by NACCIMA that sought to cast aspersion on an already negotiation on the New National Minimum Wage.

“I have spoken to the Head of NACCIMA and she has disputed what has been published by many newspapers.

“I am also aware that the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) will also issue an official statement, “Wabba added.

He explained that labour demands that the constitutional, legal and morally right step to be taken at this point is for the Chairman of National Minimum Wage Tripartite Negotiating Committee to submit the report of the already concluded negotiations to Mr President.

He therefore advised all the governors to return to their respective states and gather their workers and tell them reason they cannot pay N30,000 not just coming to Abuja to announce they cannot pay.

Echoing the same view, the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) also on Wednesday said it rejected the N22,500 minimum wage announced by the Governors’ Forum.

Mr Boboi Kaigama, TUC President, said this in Lagos at the end of its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting in Lagos.

Kaigama, who read the communique, said that the NEC rejected the amount on the grounds that the Governors Forum was not an established body empowered to negotiate new minimum wage.

”The Tripartite Committee has concluded its job and has come up with N30,000 and TUC stands by this decision.

”The NEC-in-session condemns in totality, the statement credited to some quarters that the Tripartite Committee on minimum wage did not agree on N30,000. This is a travesty of history,” Kaigama said.

He said that the Tripartite Committee included the representatives of governors, NECA, and NACCIMA and it has concluded its job and came up with N30,000 which TUC agreed with.

He further said it was wrong for the government to influence the tenure of union executives and members through its white paper and resolved that such attempt would be resisted.

The TUC president refered the government to convention 187 of the International Labour Organisation that allowed workers and employers to have the right to manage their affairs without interference.

” The NEC therefore rejects the white paper meant to cripple labour agitation for the welfare of its members and the society in general,” he said.

Kaigama said that the TUC NEC aligned itself with the position of the organised labour to commence a nationwide strike on Nov. 6, if the government failed to implement the N30,000 National Minimum Wage.

 

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Maritime First