Saraki, Akiolu Appeal to Labour to Shelve Planned Strike over Minimum Wage

Bukola Saraki

By Deji Elumoye in Abuja

The Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, and Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu, have appealed to the organised labour to shelve its planned nationwide strike scheduled to begin Tuesday over the new minimum wage.

The duo enjoined both labour and the federal government to allow more dialogue with a view to reaching an agreement on the contentious issue of new minimum wage for Nigerian workers.

Saraki, in a statement Monday by his Media Adviser, Alhaji Yusuph Olaniyonu, urged both labour and government to demonstrate sensitivity and concern for the plight of ordinary Nigerians who are already battling with the harsh economic conditions in the country.

He expressed appreciation for the patience displayed by the labour leaders as he noted that the issue of the new minimum wage could have been resolved long before now.

“My Appeal is for the two sides to immediately move fast, shift from their extreme positions and create a new middle ground in the negotiations for the new minimum wage. The shift in positions can be done even before the period of the commencement of the proposed strike action so that we do not further create tension within the economy,” he said.

According to Saraki, any strike at this point in time will create disaffection among the citizenry.
“At this point, the interest of the people should be paramount in our minds. Any labour strike will cause inconvenience and discomfort to our people.

“While the government and labour are representing the interest of the people, it is important to also ensure we avoid any action that will not show sensitivity and sensibility to the plight of the people,” Saraki further said.

On his part, Oba Akiolu sent a passionate plea to organised labour in the country to shelve the planned nation-wide strike scheduled to begin Tuesday.

The Oba, in a special statement issued Monday, appealed for restraint so as not to compound the sufferings of ordinary citizens of the country.

Oba Akiolu, who is the permanent chairman of the Lagos State Council of Obas and Chiefs, made the appeal from his London home where he’s currently holidaying.

According to him, innocent traders, commuters, the sick and school children are worst sufferers of such actions, adding that with greater understanding and tolerance of opposing views, both government and labour can amicably resolve lingering issues to the advantage of all.

He counselled against hard line stance on all sides to the dispute, pointing out that no one should provide opportunity for opportunists and enemies of Nigeria to truncate our hard-earned democracy and the fragile peace the nation currently enjoys.

Oba Akiolu also appealed to the federal government to come up with palliatives that can address the welfare needs of citizens especially as Christmas is appproaching while talks on the minimum wage continue.