Saturday, July 02, 2011

Nigerian Labour Congress Threatens to Strike Over Minimum Wage

Nigeria unions warn of strike over wages

Sat Jul 2, 2011 4:35AM

Much of the Nigerian population gets by on USD 2 a day or less.

Nigerian labor unions have warned that they will stage a nationwide strike in the near future if the government fails to implement a new minimum wage across the African country.

“Organized labor under the auspices of the Nigeria Labor Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) hereby issues a two-week ultimatum for full implementation of the minimum wage across the country,” said Abdulwaheed Omar, the president of NLC.

The unions say the Nigerian government has not fully implemented a bill passed by the country's parliament earlier this year, which increases the monthly minimum wage from 7,500 naira (USD 50) to 18,000 naira (USD 120), Reuters reported on Friday.

“All unions in both public and private sectors are to begin immediate sensitization and mobilization of Nigerians for a nationwide strike action at the expiration of this ultimatum,” Omar added.

Widespread strikes have been rare in the past few years in Nigeria and previous walkouts tended to last only a day or two.

Much of the population in the African nation is employed in the informal economy and gets by on USD 2 a day or less.

The NLC also warned that it would resist any attempts to increase fuel prices, which are subsidized by the government and have remained at 65 naira (45 cents) per liter for several years, despite broad fluctuations in global crude prices.

“Any attempt to increase the prices of petrol in the guise of deregulation will be resisted,” Omar further explained.

Last November, the unions in Nigeria launched a warning strike, shutting banks, schools and parts of the transport system to push Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan to send the bill to the parliament. However, the strike was suspended on the first day.

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