• Saturday, June 15, 2024
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Nationwide strike begins today as labour, NASS meeting ends in deadlock

Labour rejects FG’s N60,000 minimum wage offer

The planned nationwide strike by orgnaised labour will kick off Monday as scheduled after the last minute meeting between the leadership of the National Assembly, federal government and labour unions ended in a deadlock.

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC)last week Friday declared an indefinite strike commencing from Monday, June 3, 2024, after its negotiations with the federal government on new minimum wage ended in a deadlock.

In a last ditch effort to avert the strike, Godswill Akpabio, the Senate President and Tajudeen Abbas, Speaker of House of Representatives held a meeting with the organized labour and other top government officials at the National Asembly complex on Sunday evening.

Akpabio,in his opening remarks urged the organised labour against the planned action, noting that it would be difficult to negotiate with government during strike.

The Senate President also mentioned that the N494,000 demanded could worsen unemployment in the country if implemented, adding that te strike may result in collateral damage for the economy.

However, after the meeting which lasted for about four hours behind closed doors, Festus Osifo, the TUC president told journalists that the strike will continue as planned as the leadership of the labour unions in attendance cannot take a decision until it consult with other executive members and organs.

“There was an appeal from the Senate President to call off the strike. It is difficult and infact impossible for us as labour leaders to call off the strike here . We need to communicate with our various organs, meaning that the industrial action starts on Monday as planned “, he said.

Also briefing journalists after the end of the meeting , Akpabio said tremendous appeal was made to the Labour leaders to call off the strike.

The Senate President said the National Assembly will continue the negotiations directly with President Bola Tinubu. In the meantime, he urged the federal government to re-introduce the N35,000 wage award pending when negotiations will be completed.

The Senate president decried the economic consequences of the strike action, but expressed optimism that the leadership of the unions will consider the plea of the National Assembly.

“We have appealed to the organized labour to shelve the strike action because of the consequences and collateral damage involved. For example , we cannot at this time allow hospitals to be shut down to save the lives of those on emergencies or aided by oxygen to breathe

“We are very much aware of all the steps taken by the Federal Government and Labour to agree on acceptable minimum wage and very much ready to join in the negotiation by reaching out to President Bola Tinubu”, Akpabio said.

“We resolved that the Federal Government should re-introduce the wage Award of N35, 000 given to all categories of federal workers from October last year to February this year , pending the time the issue of minimum wage is resolved.

“We believe that leadership of the organized labour after leaving here will reach out to their entire membership to call of the strike in the interest of all Nigerians” , he also said.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives in his remarks also reiterated the need for the federal government to re – introduce the N35, 000 wage award.

The speaker urged the leadership of the NLC and the TUC to quickly consult with their members on the need to call off the strike in the interest of Nigeria and Nigerians

Mohammed Idris, the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Malagi also expressed optimism that labour will call off the strike as soon as possible based on appeal made to them by leadership of the National Assembly.

FG to reintroduce N35,000 wage award – says information minister

He said the Federal government would continue to pay the N35,000 wage award to all categories of federal workers pending the minimum wage issue is resolved .

The minister reiterated that the N494,000 demanded for by labour is too high which he notes will amount to an additional N9.5trillion annually

“In as much the federal government wants to improve the welfare and wellbeing of her 12 million workers, it is also very mindful of the welfare and wellbeing of the remaining 200million people”, Idris sated.

“Nigeria cannot afford strike action now. The leadership of the labour union should please reason with government and appeal made to it by leaders of the National Assembly”, he urged.

The meeting also had in attendance Joe Ajaero, president of the NLC , George Akume, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF)Atiku Bagudu, the Minister of National Planning, Wales Edun, the Minister of Finance, Wale Edun, Nkiruka Onyejiocha Minister of State for Labour and Productivity, and Adebayo Adelabu, Minister of power.