Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
Organised labour yesterday gave the three tiers of government October 31 as deadline to pay the N30,000 new minimum wage.
Following series of stalemated talks, both the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) had last week issued an ultimatum urging federal government to conclude negotiations on the consequential adjustment on the new minimum wage on or before October 16.
NLC and TUC also gave federal government till Wednesday (tomorrow) to reconvene and conclude negotiation on consequential adjustment for the new minimum wage.
The two labour centres warned that if their demands on the full implementation of the new minimum wage were not met on close of work on October 16, they would embark on industrial action without notice to government.
In a communiqué issued at the end of a meeting between NLC, TUC and the Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council (JNPSNC-Trade Union Side) in Abuja, the labour movement had rejected the offer by government for salary adjustment of 11 per cent for public workers on salary grade level 07 – 14 and 6.5 per cent consequential increase for public workers on grade level 15 – 17.
However, speaking for the federal government, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige had pointed out that the only way government could meet demands of labour is to retrench workers or sack redundant ones.
But in an address delivered yesterday by the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Mr. Ayuba Wabba, to mark the 2019 Decent Work Day in Abuja, the labour movement said that government must keep its promise of putting people first by reversing the ugly trend of wage poverty and extreme inequality.
Wabba, whose speech was read by the Deputy President of NLC, Mr. Benjamin Anthony, argued that there could not be decent work without decent wages.
“The national minimum wage is the floor for decent wages. We call on all tiers of government in Nigeria to commence full implementation of the N30,000 national minimum wage. Also, negotiations for the consequential salary adjustment must be concluded now so that all workers would have a reason to smile at the end of this October,” he said.
He urged the government to increase investment in care to generate economic growth, tackle growing demographic challenges and help overcome gender discrimination by mainstreaming women in the economy.
While calling for enhanced labour inspection in factories, and plantations, NLC demanded that stringent penalty be applied to all employers, who are not conforming to the provisions of the Labour law.
“We call on the Minster of Labour and Employment to fast track the promised revitalisation of the Inspectorate Division of the Ministry of Labour and Employment and reactivation of the National Labour Advisory Council (NLAC) as an instrument of social dialogue.