Minimum Wage: Disagreement in NLC Responsible for Collapse Negotiations with FG, Says Aremu

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Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City
The General Secretary of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Issa Aremu, has attributed the unabating crisis between the Joe Ajaero and Ayuba Wabba groups of the Congress over who controls it as responsible for the collapsed negotiations of the proposed minimum wage with the federal government.

He admitted that only a strong labour organisation could defend the interest of workers; address their challenges and compel President Muhammadu Buhari to address issues of concern, including the hike in the pump price of petroleum products.

Aremu who spoke at the 28th annual National Education conference by the National Union of Textile, Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria held yesterday in Benin City, the Edo State capital, said: “Today, the labour movement is going through avoidable crises and I want to use this medium to call on member of our unions to come together” to strengthen the bargaining power of the union which would make the federal government to buckle.”

According to him, “We need one strong NLC to defend our unions. Up till now, the palliative the president promised us has not been implemented. It is only when we are more united that we can press for a new minimum wage and succeed.

“All the president promised us till now has not been implemented.”
He tasked members of state and the Federal Executive Council to as a matter of priority, wear and patronise made-in-Nigeria- fabric to demonstrate the real change Nigerians desire.

Also addressing the gathering, Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State, said there was nothing to justify the crises in the NLC whether the election which led to the emergence of President of NLC, Ayuba Wabba, was free and fair or fraught with inconsistencies.

He kicked against the proposal by the National Assembly to abolish the National Minimum Wage and asked Nigerians to blame the economic recession in the country on mismanagement of oil revenues on 16 years of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leadership in Nigeria.

He also listed alleged inconsistencies in price modulation, unsustainable investment, trade liberation and removal of trade restriction by past governments as part of the problems which led to the collapse of the textile industries.

“Whether the elections were perfect or imperfect, there is nothing to justify the little crises we have in NLC.
“This government cannot afford to do away with the National Minimum Wage. Minimum wage is not an eat wage, but, a survival wage. We must fight not only against corruption, but, fight to revive the economy.

“I ask you to keep faith with our country. Nigeria must hold PDP to account. At a time, the barrel of crude oil in this country was $140 per barrel,” he said.

In his remark, President of National Union of Textile, Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria, Comrade John Adaji, said Nigeria going through recession which is a direct consequence of our mono economic model.

He called on President Buhari government “to move from rhetoric to a concrete programme that would tackle the armies of unemployment which the textile sector is out to check with necessary imput.”

The Minister of State for Industry, Hajia Aisha Abubakar, whose goodwill message was delivered by Mr. Barnabas Jajoa, disclosed that the federal government plan with the support of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to reduce the cost of gas supply and tackle smuggling across the country’s borders.