Nigeria: Labour Under Pressure to Shelve Planned Strike

Photo: Vanguard
Labour union strikes.
5 November 2018

Organised Labour comprising the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and United Labour Congress (ULC) is under severe pressure from the federal government to suspend it proposed strike action, scheduled to begin tomorrow.

This is as labour yesterday boycotted the meeting called on the instance of the federal government.

The federal government had called for a meeting involving the Organised Labour, the Organised Private Sector and Government at the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.

But labour had said it will not attend any negotiation, unless the government was ready to sign the N30,000 which it said had been agreed by the tripartite committee at its last meeting of November 4.

LEADERSHIP also recalled that the National Industrial Court had on Friday gave a ruling restraining the organised labour from embarking on strike Nov.6 planned strike.

But the Secretary to Government to the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, during yesterday's conciliatory meeting said the meeting was part of the exercises that ought to be undertaken to ensure that there was a complete report to submitted to the presidency on the issues related to the National Minimum Wage.

Mustapha said that the Tripartite Committee has been working assiduously but though there were outstanding issues that needed to be deal with and that was the reason the rescheduled reconciliation meeting.

He said, "Basically the only outstanding issue that needs to be deal with is to harmonise the 5th chapter of the report and get the figures in for the purposes of submission to government.

"In the inaugural speech by Mr President, there were very silent points that caused me to reflex on the work of this committee and one of it is that there is emphasis that the committee will by consensual agreement arrival at all their decision and I think that was very important.

"Mr President went further to emphasis that the concern is not only for the welfare of the workers but also every other thing should be taken on board as it affect the country's economy, so it is a balance of the welfare of the workforce with the effect of the new Minimum Wage and the economy.

"He also under pinned his speech by emphasising the fact we earn to go above basic social protection for Nigerian worker but also tie to the ability to pay, because I know that a lot of states are even having difficulty meeting the basic minimum wage,' he said.

The SGF also noted that 27 states were having difficulty in paying the basic minimum wage that was agree, saying he was not making any excused for them.

He added that the meeting will continue tomorrow, there after the tripartite committee will continue their meeting.

"I want to assure all of you that once the report is concluded and ready, I will personally ensure that Mr President sign immediately on it, " he said.

Meanwhile, the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) has concluded plans to ground the nation's aviation sector as it has directed all aviation workers to withdraw all services and join other Nigerians and stakeholders to proceed on the nationwide strike called by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on the 6 November, 2018.

In an official statement issued yesterday by the National President of NUATE, comrade Ben Nnabue, the union said their action was in compliance to the NLC and other partners in the organised labour to embark on a nationwide strike "due to the inability of the federal government to agree on the New National Minimum Wage".

According to him, "all flights operating in/out of Nigeria Airports shall be affected by this industrial action. We appeal to your good sense and understanding in this regard". NUATE President stressed that " injustice anywhere was a threat to justice everywhere".

LEADERSHIP gathered that all heads of aviation agencies have been intimated through letters, notifying them of the Union's intention to embark on the impending strike and withdrawal of services of its members from all Airports in the country.

The federal government had earlier gone to court to stop the organized labour from embarking on the proposal which was granted by the court.

However, the NLC and its partners had said no court can stop them from embarking on the Nationwide strike as government was alleged of being adamant in fulfilling the earlier agreement of N30,000 as the New Minimum Wage.

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