NLC Mobilises Action against 17 States over Minimum Wage

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Says 17 states implementing minimum wage Workers in Niger, Taraba embark on industrial action

Labour urges Buhari to address deteriorating insecurity

Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has commenced the mobilisation of its states’ chapters against 17 states that failed to meet the January 31, 2020 deadline for the payment of the new minimum wage.

THISDAY gathered that NLC has mandated the state branches to take action they deemed fit including embarking on strike to compel the affected states to comply with the minimum wage law.

A top official of the union told THISDAY yesterday before the commencement of the National Administrative Council (NAC) meeting in Abuja that the workers in two states – Taraba and Niger, have commenced industrial action while the Anambra State chapter of the NLC has issued notice of strike to the state government.

The union, however, confirmed that 17 states have so far commenced the implementation of the N30,000 new minimum wage for civil servants.

The labour movement also said that negotiations on the payment of the new minimum wage are still going on in 16 states.

According to detailed updates made available to journalists at the opening of the NAC on the progress made on the implementation of the new minimum wage by the states, NLC said that only Taraba State was yet to begin negotiation with the workers. It said that while agreement has been reached on the new minimum wage in Cross River, Enugu and Sokoto states, the parties have not signed it.

States that have commenced implementation of the new minimum wage are Borno, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Lagos, Ondo, Sokoto, and Yobe, as well as the FCT.

Also NLC said that 20 states have not commenced the implementation of the new minimum wage.

The states include, Benue, Cross River, Ekiti, Enugu, Gombe, Imo, Kogi, Kwara, Nasarawa, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Plateau, Rivers, Taraba and Zamfara.

Meanwhile, the organised labour has also urged President Muhammadu Buhari to address the killings, abductions, kidnappings and other crimes in the country.

Apparently lending support to the move by the governors from the South-west zone to set up a security outfit known as Amotekun, NLC said the clamour for regional security was as a result of deteriorating insecurity in the country.

While addressing the meeting of the NAC, NLC president, Mr. Ayuba Wabba said that although the administration of President Muhammadu recorded impressive performance in tackling Boko Haram insurgency and insecurity shortly after assumption of office in 2015, he noted that the situation appeared to have deteriorated thus requiring immediate intervention.

He said the Boko Haram insurgents have relentlessly been hitting soft and military targets on a scale and regularity that make one wonder if the gains of the past have not been reversed or wiped out.

“We seem to have come full circle. And all segments of our society including the National Assembly have agreed that time has come for new thinking, new strategies and hard decisions. Accordingly, we urge Mr. President to make decisive decisions to reverse the current ugly narrative. We must rein in now the desperate elements and disparate forces in the land that threaten to overwhelm us,” he said.

The NLC president said because of the worrisome situation, every right-thinking Nigerian has reason to be concerned, adding that “ the controversial Amotekun was a regional response to relentless killings, abductions, kidnappings and other crimes in the South-west”.

Speaking on the security threat posed by the resurging activities of the insurgents and bandits, Wabba said the terrorists have virtually held Borno State hostage, unleashing terror and mayhem on the military and civil populace.

He said: “For example, at a stage, all the access roads leading to Maiduguri were taken over by the insurgents often dressed in military fatigues. Busloads of commuters were either abducted or slaughtered. From their fall-back positions, the insurgents seized the initiative unleashing terror and mayhem on our military and civil populace.

“In a triumphal act of devious ingenuity, they yanked off Maiduguri and its environs from the national grid, plunging the place not only into darkness but causing a major disruption.

Today, major access roads to Maiduguri are still under occupation by Boko Haram who unleashes terror on hapless civilians and retreating military.

Wabba also said that there were renewed killings in the North Central, in particular, Plateau and Benue, adding that people travel on the highways at their own risk.