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NLC, TUC declare strike notice

Nigeria Labour Congress

ABUJA— LEADERS of the two main labour unions in Nigeria, the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, yesterday handed down a 14-day ultimatum to governments and private sector employers to implement the N18,000 new minimum wage or face  nationwide strike.

At a joint briefing, leaders of the two bodies decried the reluctance and attempt at reneging on the minimum wage agreed by stakeholders including governors and signed into law by President Goodluck Jonathan three months ago.

Before yesterday, Vanguard gathered that leaders of NLC at their National Administrative Council, NAC, meeting after a retreat in Calabar, Cross River State, resolved to declare a nationwide strike on July 12, to force the implementation of the new wage regime.

However, after consultations with leaders of their TUC counterpart, it was agreed that two weeks ultimatum be given to government at all levels and employers to either pay or face the consequences.

Speaking on behalf of the unions, President of NLC, Comrade Abdulwaheed Omar, said labour would not succumb to the blackmail of the masses to accept an increase in fuel prices, saying: “Any attempt to increase the prices of petrol in the guise of deregulation will be resisted.

“Having reviewed the minimum wage law, we have come to the sad realisation that no level of government has implemented the law, be it federal, state or local governments, in spite of the law coming into effect since March 2011.

“In the case of the Federal Government, the Salaries and Wages Commission has been unable and or unwilling to produce a table for implementation to Federal Public Servants, and so the Federal Government has not implemented the law. On the part of the state governments, while some are showing indication of wanting to pay, others that want to violate the constitution and the law are inclined to blackmailing their colleagues. The Governors Forum in a show of reckless insensitivity to the plight of the Nigerian people has introduced strange elements into the scene, geared at subverting the process.

Meanwhile, Governor Liyel Imoke of Cross River State has appealed to the Nigeria Labour congress, NLC, to mount pressure on the Federal Government to urgently consider the adjustment of the revenue formula.

Governor Imoke had recently when the National President of NLC, Comrade Omar, visited him in his office assured that his administration would pay the new minimum wage.

In a goodwill message he sent to the NLC at the leadership retreat at the Tinapa Business Resort, Imoke, who was represented by his deputy, Mr. Efiok Cobham said: “Without the Federal Government re-adjusting the Revenue Formula it would be very difficult for some states to implement action on the new minimum wage.”

“Given the manifest reluctance or failure of federal and state governments to implement the minimum wage, which has consequently caused implementation inertia on the private sector, organised labour under the auspices of Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress hereby issue a two-week ultimatum for full implementation of the minimum wage across the country. Unions in both Public and Private Sectors are hereby called upon to begin immediate sensitisation and mobilisation of Nigerians for a nationwide strike at the expiration of this ultimatum. Anything short of N18,000 minimum wage is totally unacceptable.“

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