Labour to resume strike next week

Labour to resume strike next week

by Ololade Adebeshin
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Labour to resume strike next week

 

By People’s Voice Nigeria | News

 

There are indications that the nationwide strike relaxed by organised labour to allow for a seamless resumption of negotiations of the tripartite committee on new minimum wage, may resume following the failure of government and labour to reach a compromise on a new wage. Despite reassurances of a meaningful increase to the N60,000 offer rejected by labour, the government at the end of a marathon negotiation on Friday, added a ridiculous N2,000 increase making its offer N62,000 to the disappointment of labour. With the N62,000 offer, the Federal Government might just be on a collision course with the organised private sector and state governors who insist they can’t sustain any amount higher than N57,000.

 

The argument is that some states may resort to borrowing to pay workers’ salaries every month. They also added that it would result in many states spending all their Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) allocations only on salaries at the expense of developmental projects and programmes. Committed to ensuring workers welfare in the midst The former Kano State governor was announced by the APC National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting as National Chairman in August last year. That was three months after President Bola Ahmed Tinubu took over as President and leader of the ruling APC.

 

Ganduje coming, though controversial, had heralded activities at the party’s of tripling inflationary pressures, labour had made over 100 per cent shift from its last offer of NN494,000 to N250,000 as new minimum take home pay for workers in the country. A source at the meeting who spoke to our correspondent, noted that there was no way labour would settle for N62,000 as the new minimum wage for workers. According to the source, the recent development has only shown that the government has not learnt any lessons from the relaxed strike, as the government was still being very unserious with the welfare of Nigerians. The source noted that the N62,000 was a mockery to the government’s claims that President Bola Tinubu was committed to establishing a National Minimum Wage that was higher than N60,000, and as such, had asked the Tripartite Committee to convene daily to finalise an agreeable National Minimum Wage by Friday.

 

The source who noted that a joint emergency meeting of the National Executive Council (NEC) of both the NLC and TUC would be summoned to discuss the way ahead, especially as the five-day window given to relax the nationwide elapses Monday, noted that the chances of Labour not accepting N62,000 as new miniNational Secretariat. Party chieftains, support groups, state executives, etc, had visited to pledge their support. Some also came with the challenges in their states’ party administrations.

 

It was a new dawn for party members and staff as they considered the former National Chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, as too conservative to run mum wage was very high “Government agreed they will top up the N60,000 offer. We won’t take that prank. The National Assembly during the meeting with labour last Sunday asked for two months but labour resisted that offer. At the government meeting when negotiations resumed, the governor’s asked for one week to conclude amongst themselves.

 

“With the N2,000 addition from labour, an emergency joint NEC meeting will be called to convey this new offer but I doubt if they are going to accept this new amount. Their (labour) best bet is N100,000. Trust me, it will also warrant them (labour) going for an indefinite strike again if government doesn’t pull anything serious.” After several months, the negotiations of Friday bring to an end the deliberations on the new minimum wage by the tripartite committee set up by the Federal Government. The recommendations will be forwarded to President Bola Tinubu, who is expected to send an Executive Bill to the National Assembly for legislative action on the new National Minimum Wage. In its reaction yesterday, NLC warned state governments to be careful what they wish for, as a miserable national minimum wage would portend grave danger to the economy of most states which were driven by workers’ wages.

 

The warning was contained in a statement signed by NLC’s Head of Information and Public Affairs, Benson Upah on Saturday, in response to comments from the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) stating that states may have to borrow, exhaust their Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) allocations in order to pay workers’ salaries every month. The statement entitled “Save the Country from a Certain Death,” reminded the state Governors that exchange rate was currently at N1,600 to $1 while inflation hovers at 33.7% (40% for food), thus putting the value of the minimum wage at $37.5 for a family of six. While noting that prices of goods and services have increased by 400% to the detriment of the poor occasioned by government’s harsh policy decisions, labour added that FAAC allocations have since moved from N700 billion to N1.2 trillion at the expense of the people.

 

The statement said: “We are alarmed by the statement credited to the Nigeria Governors Forum that state governments cannot even afford to pay N60,000 as minimum wage as a few states will end up borrowing to pay workers every month. “We do believe the Governors have acted in bad faith. It is unheard of for such a statement to be issued to the world in the middle of an on-going negotiation. It is certainly in bad taste. “As for the veracity of their claim, nothing can be further from the truth as FAAC allocations have since moved from N700 billion to N1.2 trillion. making the governments extremely rich at the expense of the people. “All that the governors need to do to be able to pay a reasonable national minimum wage (not even the N60,000) is cut on the high cost of governance, minimise corruption as well as prioritise the welfare of workers. “It is important to explain here that a national minimum wage is not synonymous with the different pay structures of different states. The national minimum wage is the lowest floor below which no employer is allowed to pay. The aim is to protect the weak and the poor. “We are not fixated with figures but value.

 

Those who argue that moving the national minimum wage from N30,000 to N60,000 is sufficiently good enough miss the point. In 2019, when N30,000 became the minimum, N300 exchanged for $1 (effectively making the minimum wage an equivalent of $100 or thereabout) while inflation rate was 11.40. *At the moment the exchange rate is at N1,600 to $1 while inflation hovers at 33.7% (40% for food). This puts the value of the minimum wage at $37.5 for a family of six.

 

This is happening at a time costs of everything rose by more than 400% as a result of the removal of fuel subsidy. This is extremely bad news for the poor. “Government’s policies of fuel subsidy removal, mindless devaluation of the Naira, energy tariff hike by 250% and interest rate hike by 26.5% will continue to hurt the economy (specially manufacturing sector) and the poor. “Already manifest is the mass incapacity of Nigerians leading to overflowing warehouses of the productive sector of the economy. The downward trend will continue except the capacity of workers and businesses is enhanced. “Paying a miserable national minimum wage portends grave danger to not only the workforce but the national economy as in truth, economies of most states are driven by workers’ wages. “In light of this, we urge the governors to do a re-think and save the country from a certain death.”

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