NLC Warns Of Impending Nationwide Strike
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) yesterday reiterated its resolve to proceed on a prolonged nationwide strike over the failure of the government to implement the new minimum wage of N30,000 for Nigerian workers.
The resolve is coming upon the expiration of the deadline given by labour to the government to implement the new minimum wage.
Naija News recalls organised labour had given the Federal Government a deadline of December 31 to send a draft bill on the new national minimum wage to the National Assembly.
The union threatened that if government does not do this, a nationwide strike will commence on the second day of the new year.
However, President of NLC, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, in a new year message to Nigerians, said the union remained committed to fighting for the welfare of Nigerian workers.
He further lambasted state governors who insisted the new minimum wage could not be paid without sacking workers, urging them to resign and allow others with interest of workers at heart to manage affairs of the state.
“This is in spite of the unimpeachable tripartite process leading to the agreement by the social partners on the new national minimum wage. It is unfortunate that the Federal Government is yet to transmit to the National Assembly an executive bill for the enactment of N30,000 as the new national minimum wage. “Government’s dillydallying on the issue has strained Government-Labour relations with a potential for a major national strike which could just be days away.
“Accordingly, we would use this opportunity to appeal to the government to do the needful by urgently transmitting the bill on the new national minimum wage to the National Assembly. We also would like to use this same opportunity to urge workers to fully mobilize for a prolonged national strike and enforce their right.
“This strike action becomes the inevitable last option for us and we crave the understanding and support of all Nigerians and businesses. We would want to assure workers that their labour, patience and diligence will not be in vain and that this leadership remains committed to giving all that it takes to ensure that they get just and fair wages due to them in a decent work environment appropriate to their well-being.
This leadership is similarly committed to ensuring there is social protection for workers,” Wabba said.
He also called for a free, fair and credible 2019 elections in the country, calling on workers and Nigerians as a whole not to vote for any candidate who is anti-workers.
“Throughout 2018, the NLC was completely invested in the struggle to protect workers’ interests, promote democratic values, advocate for the rule of law and defend human cum trade union rights. We sustained our fight against anti-labour practices at the work place and insisted on the observance of the rules of decent work and fair wages.
“We kicked against the rising incidence of unemployment, especially, youth unemployment and the danger it portends. We canvassed for the preservation of existing jobs and creation of new sustainable ones through alternative policy options with potential for expanding the economy.
“The new year presents great opportunities for workers, pensioners, civil society allies and their friends and families to put their numbers to good use by voting out not on the basis of tribe or religion but purely policy any candidate who cannot serve their interest.
“In furtherance to this, the NLC will intensify the struggle for regular, predictable and appropriate payment of salaries, pension and gratuity. This struggle will continue to be our topmost priority. In 2018 and the years preceding it, we demonstrated our commitment in this regard with rallies in defaulting states.
“We also demanded the probe of governors of such states. We went further to call on the Federal Government to make subsequent release of further bail-out funds or Paris Club refund contingent on clear evidence of judicious use for payment of salaries, pensions and gratuities of previous releases. We will continue to insist on accountability,” he added. The NLC said it will continue to insist that elections in Nigeria were free, fair and credible.
“Our focus is particularly trained on the 2019 general elections. The NLC will continue to demand that both the election umpire and political actors play to the rules of the game by shunning violence, election malpractices, vote-buying, manipulation of election rules and politics of bitterness.
“We will also deepen our campaign for good governance and fight against corruption in the same manner that we sustained the campaign for tax justice and illicit financial flows. We also demand that the recovered loot be invested transparently for the benefit of all Nigerians,” he said.