THERE is an impending
nationwide strike over
federal government’s
lukewarm attitude towards
a new minimum wage
proposed by labour unions
for Nigeria workers, the
House of Representatives
yesterday warned.
Organised labour had
proposed a new minimum
wage of N56, 000 from the
current N18, 000 set in the
Minimum Wage Act of 2011,
which also provides for a
five-year periodic review of
the wage.
Labour’ position stems
from the fact that the
minimum wage act was
due for review, in addition
to many socio-economic
factors which includes the
fall in the value of the naira,
increase in electricity tariff,
biting economic situation in
the country and the increase
in goods and services, all
of these which further
necessitated the demand for
a review of the minimum
wage from N18, 000 to N56,
000.
But at yesterday’s plenary,
the lawmakers raised the
alarm of the dangers of a fullfledged
strike by organised
labour and charged President
Muhammed Buhari to
immediately direct Minister
of Labour and Employment,
Dr. Chris Ngige, to
commence forthwith the
process of negotiating an
upward review of the current
minimum wage according to
labor proposal.
The Reps reasoned
while making a resolution
in a motion brought by
Honorable Peter Akpatason,
APC Edo, titled ‘Need to
Hearken to Calls for Review
of the National Minimum
Wage Figures to Avert
the Looming Nationwide
Strike Action,’ that it was
imperative for government
to hearken to wise counsel
for the upward review of the
present National minimum
wage so as to avert an
ominous nationwide strike
action.
They agree with labour’s
concern for a new minimum
wage given the precarious
economic situation and were
unequivocal that N18, 000
was no longer realistic and
feasible.
Expressing worries over
the consequences of strike
action, which includes total
shut down of the national
economy, the lawmakers
said it was most unfortunate
that officials of government
will down play such adverse
effects of the industrial
action and as well decline
to respond to labour after a
tripartite agreement between
labour, National Employers
Consultative Association,
NECA, and the federal
government to set up a joint
review team to study and
recommend appropriate rate
to government.
“Despite the fact that labour
unions have submitted
names of nominees and
made several requests for
commencement of the review
process, the government is
yet to respond positively to
the request” he said.
Akpatason told his
colleagues of the grave
danger of a strike at this
crucial time the country just
exited recession and warned
that like inherent results
gained from inputs made
to bring the country out of
that economic depression,
an upward adjustment in
workers rates will have a
similar positive effect on the
nation’s economy.
Speakers who spoke in
favour of motion that was
overwhelmingly approved
by members, argued that any
nationwide strike embarked
upon by Nigerian workers
to protest government’s
inaction and insensitivity
to a new minimum wage
was capable of rolling back
recent economic gains, thus
returning the nation’s weak
economy back into recession.
And to avert the action, they
tasked President Buhari and
Minister of Labour Ngige,
to do the needful now while
the statutory Committee
on Employment, Labour
and Productivity of the
House would monitor both
government representatives
and those of labour to ensure
a better deal was arrived at.

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