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‘Strike Continues Pending Tuesday Review Meeting’, Says NLC

Most business activities were grounded on Monday following commencement of the nationwide strike by labour unions. 


Organised Labour
FILES: Labour leaders Festus Osifo (second left) and Joe Ajaero (second right) at the 2024 Workers’ Day in Abuja

 

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) says it would continue with the nationwide strike which began on Monday, pending the outcome of its meeting with its organs scheduled for Tuesday.

“Until we hear from our organs at our meeting scheduled for today 4th June, we are still on strike,” the labour union said in a post on its X handle early Tuesday.

NLC’s comment came hours after the Federal Government convened a meeting with labour unions, including the Trade Union Congress (TUC) held at the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), to end the strike action.

However, after exhaustive deliberation and engagement, NLC said FG agreed to a minimum wage higher than N60,000.

“Arising from the above, the tripartite committee is to meet every day for the next one week with a view to arriving at an agreeable national minimum wage,” according to the statement by NLC.

The NLC then said it would be meeting with its organs today, adding that no worker would be victimised due to the industrial action.

The statement was jointly signed by the President of the NLC, Joe Ajaero, and the President of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Festus Osifo.

Activities of most businesses, airports, schools, banks, and others, especially public institutions, were grounded on Monday, following the nationwide strike actions by the labour.

READ ALSO: Some States Yet To Pay ₦30,000 Wage, ₦494,000 Highly Impossible — Minister 

‘Go Back To The Negotiation Table’, LP Urges FG, Labour

The development prompted a reaction from the leadership of the Labour Party (LP) which called on both the Federal Government and organised labour to return to the negotiation table and arrive at an acceptable position for the sake of suffering Nigerians

In a Monday statement, the party’s spokesman Obiora Ifoh also noted that Nigeria has been thrown into darkness, hospitals shut and water pipes drained in just a few hours into the strike, thereby throwing Nigerians into another hardship.

It opined that both the government and the labour needed to shift grounds and have a meeting point to relieve the masses of the suffering that the industrial action had generated.

“It is our opinion that the Federal Government ought not to have allowed the strike to commence in the first instance. And whether a new minimum wage is due, the answer is yes, because the reality as of today is that the current minimum wage of N30.000 can not even take anybody home,” he said.

“It cannot stand the economic realities of the people today. This reality accords the importance of an upward review of the minimum wage.”

The party noted that the labour and government need to shift their position in the spirit of negotiation “so that we can have something reasonable from both sides.

“The amount being tabled by the Federal Government can be upped but the Organised Labour must also prune their demands.

“We want to urge both parties to come back to the drawing tables. We particularly appeal to the Federal Government, that they must play the role of the father figure by ensuring that Labour comes back to the table so that they can discuss and agree to avert the current suffering that the people are going through,” the statement added.

The labour had argued that the current minimum wage of ₦30,000 could no longer cater to the well-being of an average Nigerian worker, lamenting that not all governors are paying the current wage award which expired in April 2024, five years after the Minimum Wage Act of 2019 was signed by former President Muhammadu Buhari. The Act should be reviewed every five years to meet with contemporary economic demands of workers.

However, the opposition party said the government must show concern and sincerity, and that they are ready to shift ground enough for the unions to trust them and return to the negotiation table.