20181222

FG Replies Labour Over Minimum Wage Ultimatum

The Federal Government pleaded yesterday with the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to drop its threat of industrial action at the end of the month over the proposed N30,000 national minimum wage.

Reacting to the 10-day ultimatum issued on Thursday by the labour leadership to the federal authorities to transmit the minimum wage bill to the National Assembly for consideration immediately, Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed advocated ‘continuous engagement’ between the two sides with a view to resolving their differences.

“Continuous engagement, I think, is the key. We will continue to engage them and I think they do also fully understand what the challenges are, and both parties are determined to ensure that a common ground is arrived at, which will be comfortable for all,” Mohammed told reporters after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

But the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) claimed that the delay by the federal government in forwarding the minimum wage bill to the National Assembly was a demonstration of acute insensitivity to the plight of Nigerian workers, their families and ordinary citizens.

The NLC also condemned what it described as sustained deployment of brute force by political office holders to harass, hound and victimise workers and labour leaders, vowing that such actions would no longer be acceptable to workers in the country.

The Information Minister described the NLC as “a very patriotic union”, and expressed confidence that it would do nothing capable of embarrassing the government or Nigerians.

His words: “The Nigeria Labour Congress is a very patriotic union and I am very confident that they will not do anything that will embarrass the government or do anything that is going to worsen the situation.

Labour accuses FG of insensitivity, vows to mobilise workers against govs 
The National Executive Council of the NLC also met in Abuja yesterday to review the minimum wage issue, branding federal government’s handling of the matter as a demonstration of acute insensitivity to the plight of Nigerian workers, their families and ordinary citizens.

The NLC NEC also condemned alleged sustained deployment of brute force by political office holders to harass, hound and victimize workers and labour leaders.

It vowed that such harassments would no longer be tolerated.

It spoke of plan to embark on a national sensitization of workers from January 8, 2019, especially against state governors who have formed the habit of not paying workers’ salaries.

In a communique signed by NLC President Wabba and the General Secretary, Dr. Peter Ozo-Eson, the congress said: “The continued delay by the Federal Government to transmit the Bill of the new national minimum wage to the National Assembly for enactment into law is unacceptable.

“This leisurely conduct of serious state affairs is even after the National Assembly had passed a resolution urging the President and the executive branch of government to transmit the new national minimum wage amendment bill to it for consideration and passage into law.

“The NEC expressed total dissatisfaction with the consequential delay and unacceptable lethargy in the process of regularising and implementing the new national minimum wage of N30,000. “The calculated inaction of the Federal Government is a demonstration of acute insensitivity to the plight of Nigerian workers, their families and ordinary citizens”

It took strong exception to alleged unrelenting attitude of the Ogun State Government to frustrate efforts to peacefully reinstate the NLC chairman in Ogun State, Comrade Akeem Ambali, who was sacked by the state government in the middle of a 2016 strike action to protest injustice against Ogun State workers.

The NLC said: “The Comrade has been made to suffer unfair treatment for nearly two years on account of the performance of his legitimate duties. This ugly situation has persisted despite repeated emissaries sent to the Ogun State governor to reconsider his unsupportable position on the issue.

“The entrenched insensitivity by some state governments and other political office holders to the plight of workers and pensioners, especially in the states owing several months of salary arrears, unpaid pension and gratuity of retired workers.

“It is most unfortunate that many of the governors diverted a significant part of the bailout funds and the Paris Club Refund initiatives meant to offset salaries, pension and gratuity owed workers and pensioners for purposes of personal aggrandizement and to fund non-impactful frivolous programmes and projects.

“The NEC demanded a full investigation by the EFCC of the disbursement of all bailout, Paris Club refund and budget support releases to the states.”


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