FG Reacts As Labour Declares Indefinite Strike Over Minimum Wage

The Federal Government has urged Organised Labour to reconsider its decision to embark on an indefinite strike from Monday, June 3, 2024, in protest against the government’s refusal to raise the proposed minimum wage from ₦60,000.

Plateau News reported that the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) President, Joe Ajaero, who read from a jointly prepared speech alongside his Trade Union Congress (TUC) counterpart, Festus Osifo, expressed disappointment over the Federal Government’s failure to conclude and pass into law a new National Minimum Wage Act and reverse the hike in electricity tariff to ₦65/kWh.

Ajaero noted that the Friday meeting between the government and Labour further demonstrated the lack of seriousness and apparent contempt with which the Nigerian state held the demands of Nigerian workers and people.

However, the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Idris Mohammed, in an interview with PUNCH, said the interest of the masses should be the top priority of Organised Labour.

Mohammed, who spoke on behalf of the Federal Government, pleaded with Organised Labour to shelve its planned strike, explaining that the need to find common ground was the reason for setting up the tripartite committee in the first place.

He also pleaded that the unions should not allow their progress to be eroded, adding that he was optimistic an agreement could still be reached with them.

He said, “The government is pleading with Labour to reconsider its position. The FG has already made an offer of N60,000, and whatever the government does is in the interest of Nigerians.

 “We won’t like to do something that will throw the country into another problem.

“Even as we do that, we are pleading with Labour. They are partners in this project called ‘Nigeria’ and we expect them to join hands with the FG as it strives to look for solutions that will take Nigeria to the desired prosperity.

“Our message is that of an appeal and the need for Labour to see reason with the government. That was even the basis for setting up the tripartite committee that was made up of Organised Labour, the sub-nationals and the FG.

This was because the government just didn’t want to make unilateral decisions. In any case, the position on the wage regime is not a one-sided thing.

 “We expect that they will see reason with the government. That is why we are calling on them to show understanding by not embarking on the strike because we don’t want that at this point.

A strike is not the solution to our problem. We are continuing our negotiation with them. The minister and other stakeholders are still talking to them and we believe that we will find a common ground.”