Minimum Wage: Organised Labour Reconsiders Demand on N1m

UPDATE: We Seek Government Action, Not Strikes — NLC

by Victor Ndubuisi
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The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) expressed that they would rather see government action to honour its duties rather than going to strikes.

Uchenna Ekwe, Head of International Relations at NLC, made it clear during a Channels Television interview that ultimatums are only issued when official reminders are ignored.

“The NLC is never inclined towards strikes; our goal is for the government to take the necessary actions,” he declared.

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Ekwe expressed worry about remaining concerns and emphasised continuous interactions with the administration over the 16-point accord signed in October of last year.

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He emphasised that there are not enough remedies for increases in petrol prices and that salary adjustments have only been partially implemented.

He said, “Usually people see when NLC starts putting a warning, and if you notice the comments, people will say we don’t want a strike, it will disrupt. Balancing all these, Let me make this clear, the NLC is never interested in a strike, we don’t want a strike; we want the right things to be done.

“Before you see us issue a public ultimatum, there must have been many communications that are not meant public to the government system calling their attention to probably an agreement like in this case.”

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He stated that since the agreement between Labour and the government was struck in October of last year, numerous reminders have been sent to the administration, but they haven’t had much of an impact.

He bemoaned the fact that several points from the 16-point accord have not been addressed, despite the unions’ desire for them to be.

Ekwe also denied suggestions that Labour is trying to exploit its power to stifle protests and agitations across the nation due to poverty and is playing to the gallery.

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Labour, he claimed, had no business playing to the gallery because neither the workers nor the Nigerian people would gain from it.

According to him, the pay award—which is a component of the contract with the government—has only received partial implementation, and many states have not even implemented it at all.

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Speaking about the agreed-upon palliative to lessen the impact of the removal of petrol, which increased the expense of life, he pointed out that only the states of Borno and Kebbi took a substantial action in that area, lamenting the fact that other governments chose to provide palliatives such as cups of rice and others instead.

Despite the passage of time, “the majority of these crucial agreements remain unmet or negligibly addressed, indicating a blatant disregard for the principles of good faith, welfare, and rights of Nigerian workers and Nigerians,” organised labour expressed regret in a statement signed on Thursday by the leaders of the two labour unions, Festus Usifo and Joe Ajaero.

According to organised labour, the Federal Government has 14 days, beginning today, February 9, to February 14, 2024, to fulfil its part of the understanding with the labour unions.

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