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Labour stages ‘day of national mourning’ over minimum wage logjam *Yobe, Kwara set for nationwide strike

The organised labour on Tuesday staged a ‘day of national mourning’ protest in many states across the country.

This comes as Kwara and Yobe states have told their members to get set for the nationwide protest that is slated for Tuesday next week, the 6th November 2018.

Speaking when he led protesters to Aso Rock, the seat of power in Abuja, President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba accused the Federal Government of deliberately frustrating the conclusion of a new minimum wage, two years expiration.

The angry protesters displayed placards with various inscriptions such as “No minimum wage, No work from Nov. 6’’, “Minimum Wage of N30, 000 is not negotiable’’, “Minimum wage will boost Nigerian economy”, “Upward review of Minimum wage will not trigger inflation’’, “Ngige and governors do not own Nigeria, Nigeria belongs to all workers”.

Wabba accused the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige of distorting history to suit his purpose. He therefore urged the Federal Government to take necessary steps to ensure the enactment of a new national minimum wage Act, saying labour is no longer able to guarantee industrial peace in the country is a new wage is not put in place sooner rather than later.

He submitted that is it immoral and wicked for the Muhammadu Bukhara-led administration to refuse to implement a new wage after he approved fuel price increase from N87 per litre to N145, decrease the value of the Naira by almost 70% without implementing palliatives to alleviate the impact on the vulnerable groups.

The President of Trade Union Congress, ((TUC) Bobboi Kaigama said there is urgency to implement a new wage to safe the workers from immense social pressure.

Kaigama called on the Federal and State Governments to do the needful as N30, 000 was not too much for them to pay workers as minimum wage.

“They cannot say they do not have money; the political office holders have the money and also the government. We also know how much they are putting into politics and the forthcoming general elections.

“Workers are not slaves but rather they create the wealth of the nation, they cannot continue to suffer. After all the minimum wage is long overdue,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Joint Kwara Labour Congress, on Tuesday in Ilorin, staged a peaceful protest on the delay by the Federal Government to implement the N30, 000 minimum wage demanded by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).

The protesting workers trooped to the streets in their numbers.

Workers at the Kwara Government House were not left out as the joined in carrying different placards that read: ‘Day of National Mourning’, ‘On N30, 000 minimum wage we stand’, ‘Let’s all demand for a living wage’, ‘Minimum wage, solution to corruption’.

The NLC chairman, Kwara chapter, Mr Yekini Agunbiade in his address to workers and government representatives, said it was evil to work more and earn less, adding that Nigeria workers deserve better treatment.

“N30,000 minimum wage is not even enough to cater for the family, we only want to manage it. They have to stop maltreating us.

“We say No to amputated minimum wage, N30,000 is our right. Stop denying us our right and pay us what we deserve,” he said.

The Kwara Head of Service (HOS), Mrs Modupe Oluwole, assured the protesters of better service condition for civil servants in the state.

She said Gov. Abdulfatah Ahmed of the state would fight for the workers and speak in support of minimum wage.

Also, the Yobe state council of the NLC has directed all workers in the state to prepare for an indefinite strike slated to commence from November 6th 2018 to demand for a new minimum wage.

Ibrahim Lawan, Yobe NLC Chairman, who spoke on Tuesday in Damataru, urged the workers to disregard government’s directives of no work no pay.

“We are calling on our members to start preparing for the indefinite strike which begins from Nov. 6, 2018 as directed by the National Headquarters of NLC. We will continue to mobilise members to shut down the country if government fails to accede to N30, 000 as national minimum wage,” he said.

Labour unions had threatened to commence a nationwide indefinite strike from November 6th if the Federal and state governments do not meet its demands on minimum wage for Nigerian workers.

Organised labour on Sept. 26 embarked on a nationwide strike to compel government and the tripartite committee to complete its assignment on the new minimum wage but had to suspend it when the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari assured labour that President Buhari would attend to the issue as soon as he came back from the United States but that is yet to happen.

Labour24 is not able to confirm if the President has intervene in resolving the matter since he returned to the country.

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