Organised labour in Nigeria says the 14 day ultimatum given to the Nigerian government to return to the negotiating table with its proposed figure for the new national minimum wage is irreversible.
Speaking after its National Executive Council meeting in Abuja, the Nigeria Labour Congress NLC, said that all its Councils in the 36 States of the federation and the FCT have been put on notice despite the fact that the government met over the issue on Tuesday.
Matter of priority
The Communique read by the NLC President, Ayuba Wabba called on the government to as a matter of priority address the issue before the end of the 14 day ultimatum.
According to him, “NEC in session has expressed disappointment at the manner in which the Tripartite Committee on National Minimum Wage unilaterally adjourned the meeting to ‘seine-dire’.
“NEC expresses serious concern at the unilateral adjournment of the negotiation of the new minimum wage by the Nigerian Government on the day the tripartite committee was expected to complete its assignment.”
Mr Wabba said; “NEC noted that this is against the principle of collective bargaining as provided in International Labour Organisation (ILO) Conventions 98 and 131 on Minimum Wage setting process, which Nigeria had domesticated…It resolved that at the expiration of the 14 days industrial action notice issued to the Government over the new minimum wage issue and the demand of the organised labour was not met, NEC has given the National Administrative Council and the leadership of organised labour the power to declare appropriate industrial action or any action it deems necessary.”
”NEC in session noted that the ultimatum issued to government would preserve the sanctity of the collective bargaining process,” he stated.
The NLC President also said that the demand for the tripartite committee to reconvene within a set period to finalise its report was in line with the principles of collective bargaining.
“NEC in session accordingly approved and appluaded the organised labour for taken a proactive step by issuing a statutory 14 days industrial action notice to the government, to preserve the sanctity of the collective bargaining process.
The Nigeria Labour Congress had on September 12, given government a 14 day ultimatum to return to the negotiating table with its proposed figure for the new national minimum wage or face a nation wide industrial action.
In response, government had convened a meeting of its National Economic Council on Tuesday, chaired by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo to among other things deliberate on the issue of a new national minimum wage. But Labour said that was not enough as it wanted results.
The Labour Congress said it would commence a nationwide industrial action alongside civil society organisations on September 26, should the government fail to meet its demand for the tripartite committee to reconvene and complete its assignment on the new minimum wage.