The Nigeria Labour Congress has directed workers to proceed on a nationwide warning strike with effect from Thursday. This followed the delay in negotiations for a new minimum wage by the Federal Government.
General Secretary of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Dr Peter Ozo-Eson, in a statement in Abuja on Tuesday, directed all industrial unions in the country and state councils to immediately begin the mobilization of their members in readiness for the warning strike.
It read, “This is to inform you that the organised labour shall commence a nationwide warning strike in respect of the non-implementation of the National Minimum Wage effective midnight of Wednesday, September 26, 2018. “All industrial unions and all state councils are to commence mobilization immediately for an effective strike action nationwide. A formal notification letter will be sent later in the day.”
President Muhammadu Buhari had in November 2017, inaugurated a tripartite committee to negotiate a new national minimum wage for the country. The government had assured workers that the committee, which began sitting in March 2018, would conclude its work by the end of this month.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, who assured the workers of a new wage by the end of the third quarter, later announced that the committee had yet to finalize its work. He stated that the government needed more time to consult before arriving at a figure which would be discussed by the committee.
The panel subsequently adjourned indefinitely. The development, however, angered organised labour which accused the government of delaying the process and issued a two-week ultimatum. It threatened to embark on a strike if the government failed to recall the committee and conclude negotiation on the new minimum wage.
Though Vice President Yemi Osinbajo held a meeting with the tripartite committee last week in response to the threat, the unions appeared unimpressed with the development. The labour ministry spokesman, Mr Samuel Olowookere, could not be reached for comments as he did not respond to phone calls. He had yet to reply an SMS on the strike threat as of the time of filing this report.