Minimum wage: NLC, TUC to suspend strike after grounding economy

Minimum wage: NLC, TUC to suspend strike after grounding economy
Minimum wage: NLC, TUC to suspend strike after grounding economy

By Ogaga Ariemu

Africa-Press – Nigeria. 24 hours after workers crippled Nigeria’s economy, leaders of the Nigeria Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress have reached a deal with the Federal Government to suspend the ongoing indefinite strike.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator George Akume disclosed this on Monday night while unveiling the resolutions of the emergency meeting with organized labour.

The four-point resolution was signed by the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, Minister of State Labour and Employment, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, NLC President, Joe Ajaero and TUC President, Festus Osifo.

According to the resolutions, the federal government said it is committed to paying a minimum wage that is higher than N60,000.

The resolution stated that the tripartite Committee is to meet every day for the next week to arrive at an agreeable National Minimum Wage

Importantly, they added that organized labour will meet immediately to consider the federal government’s commitment.

“Labour in deference to the high esteem of the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, the Federal Republic of Nigeria’s commitment in iv above undertakes to convene a meeting of its organs immediately to consider this commitment; and No worker would be victimized as a result of the industrial action,” part of the resolution read.

A senior executive of organized labour who preferred anonymity told DAILY POST that workers would suspend the indefinite strike and return to negotiation with the government.

“For certain, organized labour will suspend its indefinite strike on Tuesday to continue negotiations with the tripartite committee.

“This is in line with the commitment extracted from the government after the meeting with the SGF”, he said.

Meanwhile, an earlier meeting between the organized labour and leadership of the National Assembly ended in a deadlock.

Consequently, workers commenced an indefinite strike on Monday, 3 June over the failure of the government to implement minimum wage and reversal of the electricity tariff hike.

NLC, TUC ground Nigeria’s economy

Nigeria’s economy was at a standstill Monday as organized Nigerian workers shut aviation, power, banks, ports, energy, road transport, and telecommunications sectors protesting the Federal government’s failure to implement minimum wage and reversal of the electricity tariff hike.

Airlines canceled flights leaving passengers stranded at Murtala Muhammed International Airport Lagos, Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja and other airports.

In the early hours of Monday, the Transmission Company of Nigeria announced that workers shut down the National grid leading to nationwide darkness. Many manufacturers have been operating on diesel which is N1415.06 per litre, while small business owners run on petrol N701.24 per liter.

To make the matter worse, the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, are not exempted from the ongoing strike, making the twin product of fuel and diesel scarce.

Also, some banks and financial institutions partly closed operations.

DAILY POST observed that banks around the federal Secretariat in Abuja were shut down.

This was the case in Kano, Ondo, Lagos, Delta, Bayelsa, Oyo, Ebonyi, Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Benue and other states.

Activities at public offices were grounded in compliance with strike action.

DAILY POST observed that striking workers shut doors to public offices.

The National Assembly Complex was shut down by striking workers. Same with the Federal Secretariat and other offices in Abuja. The same was experienced across all ports in Nigeria.

The development has placed Nigeria’s economy already battling with high inflation, unemployment, foreign exchange fluctuations and an energy crisis on the edge.

Tension over intimidation

There was tension when organized labour alleged that they were surrounded by the Army at the meeting with SGF.

However, the Nigerian Army clarified that organized labour’s claim was false and misleading. The Nigeria Army said its operatives at the SGF office accompanied the National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu.

Minimum wage proposal by Labour, FG

Organized labour had earlier proposed N494,000 as minimum wage, while the federal government is offering N60,000.

The organized labour had on different occasions staged a walkout from the tripartite Committee on National Minimum Wage over the government’s refusal to shift ground.

Meanwhile, the latest commitment by the Nigerian government has indicated that it is willing to pay a minimum higher than N60,000.

Labour, the Nigerian govt should be empirical and realistic on minimum wage – Nwuba

Dr Alex Nwuba, President of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association of Nigeria in an interview with DAILY POST on Monday said both the government and the labour must be empirical and realistic about the new minimum wage.

“It’s most unfortunate the consequences to those who must wait on the gladiators. This is merely the beginning as labour has presented an unrealistic offer and the government unwilling to move beyond its proposal.

“Both parties need to be more empirical, as the number proposed by each side does not address the issues and needs of the citizens.

“First, suspend the strike and determine what the economy can bear in wages, conduct studies on the required cost of living adjustments, as well as the numbers to keep the economy on track and competitive”, he told DAILY POST.

Nigeria govt should grant N150, 000 minimum wages to workers – Ojikutu

Capt. John Ojikutu, an industry expert and the CEO of Centurion Aviation Security and Safety Consult said Monday’s shutdown of Nigeria’s aviation sector further added to the problems the industry is grappling with.

He noted that if the government is serious about ending the issues of Nigerian workers, it should adopt N150,000 minimum wage.

“Nigerian Aviation has been thriving on many problems in the past 10 to twelve months which those in the government are yet to get solutions to.

“They should consider the electorates first before themselves because without the electorates, they cannot be what they are.

“Minimum pay for the workers, mainly the electorates, should not be less than N150,000.

Full privatization of the power sector will prevent national grid shutdown – Olubiyo

Kunle Olubiyo, the president of the Nigerian Consumer Protection Network said full and effective privatization of the power sector would have prevented the national grid shutdown by striking workers.

He blamed the rut in the power sector across the value chain for challenges in the industry.

He urged the government to completely deregulate the power sector in Nigeria.

“If the power is fully privatized, NLC, and TUC won’t shut down the national grid.

“We are in an emergency. Utility services like water, and electricity ought to be exempted if the workers are well-paid and the sector is effectively privatized.

“If the power sector is fully privatized, the nation grid won’t be shut.

“We want the government and labour to come to a middle ground on the minimum wage”, he said.

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