- Category: Business and Economy
- Published on Monday, 08 November 2010 11:33
- Written by Daily Trust
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The strike committee set up by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to execute a three-day “total shutdown” of the nation by November 10 to 12 has declared that the planned strike must go on unless the government enacts into law the new national minimum wage.
Also, banks and schools would be closed and even workers of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) will down tools during the strike action.
A committee comprising government, employers and labour stakeholders headed by former Chief Justice Alfa Modibbo Belgore had last July presented a report to the Federal Government suggesting N18,000 as the new minimum wage.
NLC had at its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting on October 27, directed workers to down tools for three days unless government announces the immediate implementation of the recommended N18,000 new minimum wage.
Chairman of the Strike Committee Comrade Promise Adewusi in a text message sent to Daily Trust yesterday said any government reaction that does not include the passage of the minimum wage bill “definitely excludes us and cannot assuage the hunger and therefore the anger of the impoverished Nigerian workers.”
He said “the agreement of N18,000 (down from our demand of N52,200) was the product of a presidential tripartite negotiation involving the Federal Government, states, private sector employers and labour.
“The negotiations took about a year to arrive at the N18,000 which all the parties accepted and the elder statesman Justice Belgore even attached a draft bill to make execution easy while submitting the agreement to Mr. President.”
According to him, increments in national minimum wage were given quick passage under previous administrations because of the sincerity and willingness exhibited by past leaders on improving the welfare of workers.
“There have been precedents; in 1981 under President Shagari the minimum wage bill was passed in 24 hours and in 2001 under President Obasanjo, it was passed in a few days. So where there is a will, there will always be a way.”
Adewusi also said “some of those governors misadvising Mr. President are insincere and are doing so for their own selfish interest.” He added, “On Belgore we stand; No minimum wage, no work.”
Also yesterday, the opposition Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP) called on President Goodluck Jonathan to urgently send an executive bill to the National Assembly on minimum wage of N18,000 as agreed by the tripartite committee in order to avert the planned industrial action by the organized labour.
CNPP’ National Publicity Secretary Osita Okechukwu said in a statement that only respect for the decision of the tripartite committee set up by the Federal Government would stop a strike in the midst of national recession.
He said it is a paradoxical situation when the president, governors and lawmakers are living on jumbo salaries while the workers are underpaid despite the fact that they shop in the same markets.
While calling on all patriotic Nigerians to persuade the president to respond to the labour’s demands, Okechukwu said, “We consequently challenge him (President Jonathan) to submit the accompanying Bill in the Tripartite Committee Report as an Executive Bill to the National Assembly to give legal teeth to the new minimum wage.”
President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday appealed to the organised Labour not to embark on strike as government is making efforts to address their demands.
Speaking to journalists at the presidential wing of the Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos, Jonathan said that the National Council of State will meet in three weeks time to look at issues raised by the organised labour.
He said a committee has been set up and it will report to government in two weeks time.