Two months after the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) suspended its four-day strike, the union says it will embark on a day of national protest.
The NLC has been at loggerheads with the federal government over a new minimum wage. The NLC and other labour unions demand that the national minimum wage be increased to N30,000 from the current N18,000.
President Muhammadu Buhari has however refused to commit to the new proposal. Instead, the president said during his budget presentation speech on Wednesday that he would set up a technical committee to review the N30,000 proposed by a tripartite committee earlier set up by the federal government. State governments have also said they would not be able to pay the N30,000 minimum wage.
The NLC, however, says it would not partake in any further negotiation of the N30,000 and that all the president needs to do is send a bill to parliament for N30,000 minimum wage. The labour congress, a registered coalition of many workers’ unions, said its one-day protest, against the president’s action, is scheduled to take place on January 8, 2019.
The NLC president, Ayuba Wabba, disclosed this in a statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES Friday night.
Mr Wabba said the resolution was reached at a meeting of the National Executive Council of the NLC on Wednesday in Abuja.
According to Mr Wabba, the protest is to “express anger and total dissatisfaction over the delay by the federal government in transmitting, enacting and implementing the new national minimum wage of N30,000.
“The NEC-in-Session approved that the protests should hold in all state capitals and the Federal Capital Territory Abuja on January 8, 2019. The NEC mandates all industrial unions and state councils to fully mobilise workers and coordinate with other labour unions for this mother-of-all protest,” he said.
Mr Wabba said the union strongly condemned the continued delay by the federal government to transmit a bill of the new national minimum wage to the National Assembly for enactment into law.
The NLC also criticised the actions of the Ogun State Government.
“The NEC particularly took strong exceptions to the unrelenting attitude of the Ogun State Government to frustrate efforts to peacefully reinstate the NLC Chairman in Ogun State, Comrade Akeem Ambali who was sacked from the employment of the Ogun State government in the middle of a 2016 strike action to protest injustice against Ogun State workers,” he said.
He said the Ogun State Government is owing workers who have retired since 2012.
“Ogun statement has not paid Ogun State workers who have retired their gratuity since 2012. Even those paid before then were severely shortchanged as the Ogun State government used an unknown and illegal instrument, the so-called “Basic Rent and Transport” (BRT), to calculate gratuity due to workers”
Mr Wabba also alleged that the Ogun State Government is the highest debtor on Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS).
He said the state government has not remitted the Contributory Pension Scheme for an accumulated and contiguous period of one hundred and six (106) months.
“The Ogun State Government has refused to release 7 months check off dues from workers to trade unions in the state. This is despite an agreement the State Government signed with workers to use 50% of the Paris Club Refund to offset debts owed Ogun State workers,” he said.
PREMIUM TIMES earlier reported how the information minister, Lai Mohammed, said he is confident that labour unions will not embark on strike over the minimum wage.
Mr Mohammed said the government and labour are determined to ensure that a common ground is arrived at during deliberations.