Labour Threatens Fresh Strike Over Minimum Wage
The federal government has been given a December 2018 deadline for the implementation of the N30,000 new national minimum wage for Nigerian workers.
The President of Trade Union Congress (TUC), Bobboi Bala Kaigama and the Secretary General of the Association of Senior Civil Servant of Nigeria (ASCSN), Bashir Alade Lawal, gave the warning at the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting in Abuja yesterday.
The two labour leaders warned that anything short of the N30,000 agreed by the Committee would be promptly rejected and will spell bad times for the Nigerian government.
Kaigama also stressed the need for President Muhammadu Buhari to fast track the process of forwarding the agreed minimum wage to the National Assembly.
“The Federal Government is advised to avoid any action that can delay or truncate the process of enacting the new Minimum Wage Act as the consequences of allowing that to happen can be very devastating.
“It is worthy of note that the single most important issue agitating the mind of an average Nigerian worker today is that of the new national minimum wage, the report of which was presented to Mr. President on Tuesday 6th November, 2018. It is apt to state that against all odds, the tripartite committee that negotiated the new minimum wage was able to scale all hurdles and agreed to the sum of N30,000 as the new minimum wage for the country.
“It is on this premise that I strongly want to appeal to the Federal Government to fast-track the process of enacting the new national minimum wage into law.
“Our expectation is that the government should be able to complete the entire process before the end of this year so that workers who have waited for so long can begin to enjoy a new lease on life provided by the newly agreed minimum wage.”
The TUC president further lamented a situation where the core civil service, which is the engine room of government, is the least paid in the public service.
According to Kaigama, even though civil servants, for instance, possess the same qualifications and experience as their counterparts in the parastatals and agencies, “yet, the salaries of these other employees are, in most cases, three times more than that of officers in the core ministries.”
The labour leader added: “This situation has been made worse by the fact that since 2010 when salary relativity was carried out in the core civil service, no salary increment has been granted to civil servants except for the N900 monthly that was added to the emoluments of senior officers across board after N18,000 was approved as the national minimum wage in 2011.”
Lawal on his part, said if the federal government fails to implement the N30,000 agreement, labour would resume its suspended nationwide strike.
“The way we interpret the president speech is that he said he is going to forward Executive Bill to the National Assembly, and on that we stand. We are not going to accept five kobo drop on that N30,000; we are not going to accept it. We are not going to accept anything less that N30,000. Like I said earlier on, we have mobilised already, we only suspended (the strike). So, we will pick off from where we left. It is not going to be a difficult thing.”
“We want it done less than two weeks; we cannot wait till end of November because we want the minimum wage achieved this year.
“We are taking Mr. President on his words now, but we have a timeline on when we will swung into action. Our members are ready and only waiting for directive; we are prepared because as we have always say, we have never gotten anything on a platter of gold. We are going to do all we can within the law to ensure implementation this year,” he said.
Reacting to the new threat by labour, the Deputy Director of Press in the ministry of labour, Mr Samuel Olowookere when contacted, said he could not comment on the threat by Labour.
He however said the ministry and the labour minister have done their part, urging for caution on the part of labour.
“I cannot comment on what I don’t know, I can only speak on what I know with the permission to do so. All I know, which is known to everybody, is that the ministry has concluded its work on the minimum wage and my ‘Oga’ has submitted the report to the president. That is all I can say,” he said.
Naija News recalls President Buhari had upon receiving the report on the new minimum wage, stated his committment to ensuring a new minimum wage regime, adding that he is studying the report and would soon send it to the National Assembly for passage into law.