Labour begins nationwide strike over minimum wage

The Nigeria Labour Congress has directed all its members and affiliate unions to begin a nationwide strike on Thursday to demand an upward review of the country’s minimum wage.

A meeting held with the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, in Abuja on Wednesday, ended in a deadlock.

NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, said the industrial action would commence due to the refusal of the Federal Government to reconvene the meeting of the tripartite national minimum wage committee to enable it to conclude its work.

“In compliance with this mandate, all workers and private sector at all levels across the country have been directed to comply.

“All public and private institutions, offices, banks, schools, public and private business premises, including filling station, are to remain shut till further notice,” Wabba said at a news conference in Abuja on Wednesday.

The workers are demanding a new minimum wage of about N50,000 from the current national minimum wage of N18,000.

Ngige told journalists after a meeting with labour leaders that the tripartite committee on national minimum wage would resume negotiations on October 4.

“We are resuming precisely on Thursday, October 4, and the meeting can spill over to October 5. All the processes have been put in place and labour leaders know; they are now expected to communicate such to their organs; so we don’t have any need for a strike,” he said.

Asked if the government team had concluded its consultation on the minimum wage with governors, Ngige said it would be done when the tripartite committee resumed, adding that the government was still consulting with other stakeholders.

He said, “Part of our consultation means the economic management team would have something to work on. Already, they are working on it, the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission is working on it and it is expected that before the October meeting, they would have been through with work.”

Ngige said a bill would still have to go through the National Assembly after approval by the Federal Executive Council.

Wabba said the unions had to brief their organs before calling off the strike.

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (NUPENG), Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) and the Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU) said they would join the strike in solidarity with NLC.

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) said it would consult with its leadership and trustees before joining the strike.

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