• Friday, June 14, 2024
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Minimum Wage: Labour’s nationwide strike action illegal – FG

Labour rejects FG’s N60,000 minimum wage offer

…says action did not comply with trade dispute act.

…as over 9 unions mobilise members for strike

The federal government has described the strike action called by the organised labour from Monday 3rd June, as “ premature, illegal and illegitimate, as labour has failed to comply with section 41 abd 42 of the trade dispute Act of 2004, which requires labour to give 15 days notice before embarking on strike.

Lateef Fagbemi, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation in a letter to the leadership Nigerian Labour Congress NLC and the Trade Union Congress TUC, noted that the nationwide strike action “ is premature, at a time when the Federal government and other stakeholders involved in the Tripartite Committee on determination of a new national Minimum wage had not declared an end to negotiation”

Recall that Festus Osifo, President of the TUC, while speaking for the Organised Labour in Abuja on Friday, said the strike action followed breakdown of negotiation for a new national Minimum Wage

He disclosed that the government had demonstrated unwillingness to address issues raised by the organised labour, especially the recent hike in electricity tariffs and demand for a living wage.

“ Since we undertook the nationwide protest against the recent hike in electricity tariffs, no government official has called us for discussion. Even the Minister of Power has not thought it fit to invite us for discussion”

But Fagbemi, in response to the claims by the organised, stated that “this latest declaration of strike action by the Organised Labour is premature at a time when the Federal government and other stakeholders involved in the Tripartite Committee on determination of a new national Minimum wage had not declared an end to negotiation.

“You are aware that the federal and State government are not the only employers to be bounded by a new national Minimum Wage, hence, it is vital to balance the interest and capacity of all employers of labour in the country ( inclusive of the Organised private sector). In order to determine a minimum wage for the generality of the working population.

Fagbemi, drew the attention of the Organised Labour to sections 41(1), and 42 (1), of the Trade Dispute Act 2004 as amended, which he said requires the NLC and TUC to issue mandatory strike notices of a minimum of 15 days.

He noted that at no time did either the NLC or TUC declared a trade dispute with their employers, or issue any strike notice as required by law for such strike action to be legitimate and lawful.

“It is not in doubt that the fundamental importance of the 15 -day notice is understood by the fact that section 41 and 42, criminalize non-compliance with this requirement for a valid declaration of strike action

“In addition to the foregoing, the legality or legitimacy of the proposed strike action is also strongly called to question by the fact that both the NLC and the TUC, failed to comply with the statutory condition precedent ( dispute resolution procedures), provides for under section 18(1)(a) of the Trade Dispute Act of 2004 as amended” he said.

Already the various affiliates of the NLC and TUC have issues notices mobilizing its members for the indefinite nationwide strike starting by midnight on Monday.

The affiliates include the Nigeria Union of Teachers, Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, National Union of Banks, Insurance, and Financial Institutions Employees.

Also in a statement, the National Union of Electricity Employees, issues a notice titled “Mobilisation for nationwide strike and total withdrawal of services”

Other Union which has issued similar notices include the Medical and Health Workers’ Union of Nigeria, Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria, Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria, amongst others
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