Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Nigerian Labour Sets July 20 Date For Strike Over Minimum Wage

Labour fixes Wednesday July 20 for strike over new wage

Wednesday, 13 July 2011 00:00
From Collins Olayinkamu
Nigerian Guardian

THE Federal Government has between today and next week Tuesday to avert a shutdown of the country as the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has perfected plans to begin a three-day nationwide strike, beginning from next week Wednesday.

NLC said yesterday that it was forced to take the strike option as the last resort because the Federal Government has not shown any sense of urgency in spearheading the payment of the new wage that was signed into law by President Goodluck Jonathan.

President of the labour movement, Abdulwahed Omar, who read the riot act in Abuja yesterday at a press briefing, submitted that the NLC is now left with no other option than the strike to ensure speedy implementation of the minimum wage law, wondering why the Federal Government which spearheaded the passage of the law will be the first to break it with impunity.

His words: “Given the non-implementation of the minimum wage by the federal, states and local governments, as well as the private sector, the labour movement is left with no alternative than to defend the minimum wage law, interest of working people and the fundamental human right of the Nigerian populace to live above poverty line.

“We also have the historical duty to hold government accountable to the people and ensure that governments at all levels obey the laws of the land. As a result of the above, the labour movement calls a three-day general strike across the country with effect from Wednesday, July 20 to Friday July 22, 2011. The strike will be against the federal, states and local governments as well as the private sector.”

NLC rejected a circular, which it claimed prescribed that only workers who are on grade levels one to six can benefit from the minimum wage. The body argued that the wage increment should have a general applicability irrespective of the grade.

“Even the Federal Government has also fallen foul of the minimum wage law. The attempted decision by the Federal Government to make the new minimum national wage implementation applicable only to workers on Grade 01 to 06 in the Federal Service is not acceptable to us.

“We observed that the national minimum wage has national applicability and affects all workers irrespective of sector or grade level. Therefore, both the payment table and the implementation circular presented by the Federal Government are rejected by the Congress,” Omar stated.

After concluding its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting, the Congress stressed its disappointment over the non- implementation of the new wage three months after it was signed into law by President Jonathan.

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