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Labour threatens nationwide strike from Nov over minimum wage

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the United Labour Congress (ULC) have threatened to commence an indefinite strike from November 6 if the federal government fails to meet their demands.

Ayuba Wabba, the president of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), and Joe Ajaero, president of the United Labour Congress, issued the threat at a press conference on Sunday.

The unions and the federal government have been at loggerheads over the minimum wage for workers.

The unions went on strike in September but suspended the industrial action after talks with government.

While labour demanded an upward review of the minimum wage from N18,000, the federal government proposed N24,000 while the state governments suggested N20,000.

But labour rejected the proposals.

The leaders said it had become necessary for the organised private sector (OPS) as represented in the tripartite committee to speak up on this matter.

They accused the government of not showing any sign of seriousness to resolve the workers’ concerns.

“It is not true that we proposed N30,000 as the new national minimum wage,” the statement read.

“It is also not true that the committee did not agree on a figure during its last sitting. We accepted N30,000 as a compromise to demonstrate the willingness of Nigerian workers to make sacrifices towards nation building.

“Keeping silent in the face of this apparent mischief does our nation no good. At this time the OPS does not have any other choice but to rise to the occasion by telling Nigerians what transpired in the meeting.

“What we are waiting for is for the federal government to immediately set in motion the necessary machinery for turning the agreement into a Bill for onward submission to the NASS where we expect the presidency to work together with the legislators to make it a law so that it can be implemented quickly

“A day of national outrage and mourning which will be used to sensitise Nigerians on our plight and on the issues at stake. This shall take place in all states of the federation including Abuja on Tuesday, the 30th day of October, 2018.”

The unions said the joint central working committee (CWC) meeting of all the labour centres in Nigeria will hold to receive reports and make final preparations for its ultimate engagement with the federal government on the matter on November 2.

After a meeting between the federal government and the unions, Chris Ngige, minister of labour, had said labour agreed to N30,000 as minimum wage for workers in the public sector and N25,000 for their counterparts in the private sector.

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