This article is part of our #FirstWord series to provide context on trending news.
Over the past few months, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) and United Labour Congress (ULC) have been at loggerheads with the Federal Government regarding the implementation of a new minimum wage.
What’s the story?
Labour initially proposed a ₦65,000 minimum wage but moved the amount to ₦30,000 after the Federal Government failed to guarantee that they would be able to pay the proposed amount.
Pointing that they do not have the capacity to pay ₦30,000, State Governors under the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) put forward a sum of ₦22,500 against the existing ₦18,000.
This did not go down well with Labour representatives, who threatened to ‘shut down the country’ with an indefinite strike from November 6 if their demand was not followed through by the Government.
“The N30,000 figure is not adjustable. We agreed to the N30,000 figure as the minimum wage at our last meeting. Sixteen of the governors were at the meeting, where the agreement was reached. Whatever they are saying now is a joke and self-deceit” - Denja Yakubu, Assistant Secretary at NLC
Meanwhile, on Friday 2nd November, the National Industrial Court of Nigeria ordered the organised labour, comprising the NLC, TUC and ULC not to go ahead with the strike scheduled to start November 6.
Justice Sanusi Kado gave the order in a ruling on an ex parte application moved on behalf of the Government by the Solicitor-General of the Federation, Dayo Apata.
The Judge maintained that the strike happening would create economic loss for public and private institutions, especially key ones like the health and education sector.
While the hearing of the main suit has been adjourned till November 8th, Organised labour does not appear to be listening. In spite of the court ruling, members insist that the strike will commence as planned.
“We are not aware of any court ruling and we have not been served any notice. We have just concluded our joint organ meetings of the Central Working Committees of the Labour Centres of the NLC, Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the United Labour Congress (ULC) in Lagos.”
The meeting is the final preparation for a full engagement with the government on the new national minimum wage and we have taken our decision to go on the strike. Our decision is to go ahead with the nationwide strike, unless the government does the needful.” - Ayuba Wabba, NLC President
It looks like November is going to be another month of back and forths with Labour and the Nigerian Government regarding minimum wage.
NLC, TUC and ULC insist that there is no backing down till the Government put in place the necessary motion towards sending a bill to the National Assembly to legislate for a new minimum wage for the country.