• Tuesday, June 25, 2024
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FG, Labour in make or mar effort as workers insist on N615,000

Union leaders task FG on review of minimum wage

… NLC, TUC, set May 31st deadline for electricity subsidy reversal

… Workers issue ultimatum to State govts

Ahead of the Tuesday (today) resumption of the 37 member tripartite committee on the new national Minimum Wage, the National Executive Councils (NECs) of both the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC), on Monday, reaffirmed their demands for reversal of the electricity subsidy and commitments to ensuring fair wage deal for Nigerian workers.

This is as the meeting of the Federal Government tripartite committee on the new minimum wage resumes on Tuesday (today) in Abuja.

Read also: Strike imminent as Labour walks out on FG over N48,000 minimum wage proposal

The Tuesday meeting is a make or mar effort as the Labour Union had walked out on the meeting last week following the Federal Government’s decision to offer N48,000 as new minimum wage, which the organised labour rejected.

It is not however clear if the Government is prepared to shift grounds, as the labour unions have continued to insist on N615,000 minimum wage

A communique issued after an emergency meeting in Abuja, on Monday, labour said the NEC meeting was in response to the pressing national issues affecting Nigerian workers as labour set May 31st deadline, insisting that its demands remain non- negotiable.

The communique signed by Joe Ajaero, the NLC President and Festus Osifo, President of the TUC, condemned the unilateral increase in electricity tariff by the authorities, insisting on its reversal and set a May 31st deadline for Government to comply with its demands.

Labour said the meeting was their response to pressing national issues, including the recent hike in electricity tariff; the ongoing negotiation of a new national minimum wage with the Federal Government and the persisting non-compliance with the 2019 National Minimum wage Act by some State Governments.

The labour union recalled that it had embarked on a one-day nationwide picketing of all NERC offices and DISCOs in protest of the illegal hike in electricity tariff while demanding a reversal from NERC and the Federal Government without the desired result.

They also berated the Federal Government over its refusal to comply with the dictates of the 2019 National Minimum Wage Act in constituting the Tripartite National Minimum Wage Negotiating Committee later than six months to the expiration of the existing one; as well as the “deliberate delays in good faith negotiations, which has compelled the NLC and TUC to give Federal Government until the last day of May, 2024 to complete everything about the new national minimum wage fixing process.

This is just as they accused the Government of not showing any serious sign of ensuring that the new national minimum wage process is concluded accordingly.

The organised labour, while noting that some State Governments are still refusing to pay the N30,000 national mnimum wage as stipulated in the 2019 National Minimum Wage Act, directed its affiliates to issue two weeks ultimatum to the States still owing the old minimum wage.

“This action, taken without due consideration for the economic hardships faced by the masses and the provisions of the Law, is deemed unjust and burdensome.

“The NEC reaffirms its demands for an immediate reversal of the tariff hike and the vexatious apartheid categorization into Bands to alleviate the suffering of Nigerian workers and citizens and gives the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and the federal government until the last day of May, 2024 to meet these demands”, the labour said.

On the minimum wage negotiations, labour acknowledged the ongoing negotiations between the NLC/TUC, the Organised Private Sector (OPS) and Federal Government, regarding the new national minimum wage.

While appreciating the efforts made thus far, they emphasized on the urgency of reaching a fair and equitable agreement that reflects the true value of Nigerian workers’ contributions to the nation’s development and the current crisis of survival facing Nigerians as a result of government’s policies.

“The NEC affirms its commitment to ensuring that the interests and welfare of workers are adequately protected in the negotiation process

“The NEC-in-session therefore reiterates the ultimatum issued by the NLC and TUC to the Federal Government, which expires on the last day of this month.

“It emphasizes the non-negotiable nature of the demands put forth by Nigerian workers and urges the government to prioritize the resolution of these issues in the best interest of industrial peace.

“NEC-in-session further directed all state Councils whose state Governments are yet to fully implement the N30,000(Thirty-thousand Naira) National Minimum Wage and its consequential adjustments to issue immediately a joint two-week ultimatum to the culpable state Governments to avert industrial action”, the labour said..

They also reaffirmed the NLC and TUC joint ultimatum earlier issued to the Anambra State Government by its Anambra State Councils and directed all affiliates and workers in the State Councils to mobilize their members to ensure a successful action in the event that the State Government fails to meet the demands of workers by Thursday, the 23rd of May, 2024.

“In the event that the Government fails to meet the demands outlined within the stipulated timeframe, the NEC authorizes the leadership of the NLC and TUC to take appropriate actions, including but not limited to the mobilization of workers for peaceful protests and industrial actions, to press home these demands for social justice and workers’ rights”