The Nigerian Labour Congress, the Trade Union Congress and the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria on Wednesday, October 22, 2014 threatened to go on an indefinite strike to protest the decision of the National Assembly to move the minimum wage from the exclusive legislative list to the concurrent list.
The unions said they had rejected the planned deregulation of wages which in their argument, they said if allowed to succeed, it would be akin to a declaration of war on Nigerian workers and would complicate the already bad security challenges in the country.
The general secretary of NLC, Dr. Peter Ozo-Esan, speaking to the press said that the organised labour would resist the move of the National Assembly with all the resources at its disposal.
He added that the NLC had called an emergency meeting of its National Executive Committee for Monday, October 27 to take a final decision on their action.
Ozo-Esan: “Clearly, we are opposed to the movement of the labour issues to the concurrent list. You know that the Senate President (David Mark) gave a promise to revisit the issue during a protest organised by the labour unions on this issue to the National Assembly. And the House of Representatives voted against it so it is a surprise to us.
“We are opposed to it, we think it is retrogressive, it is not an issue we will allow to stand, we are going to contest it with all the resources at our disposal. You will be hearing from us on that.
“As we speak, we have conveyed an emergency NEC meeting on it for Monday next week; it is the organ that will take the NLC’s next position on the issue…
“We have always taken a position that we require autonomy for local governments, we are ok with that, we have canvassed that position for some time. What we are opposed to is a situation, where autonomy will now affect payment of teachers’ salaries.”
ACSN has also declared its intentions to join in on the strike action.
This was made known in a statement signed by the president and secretary-general, the ASCSN, Mr. Bobboi Kaigama and Mr. Alade Lawal respectively.
The association called for “a total resistance to the move by the National Assembly to further impoverish Nigerian workers by outlawing the meagre national minimum wage through the backdoor.”
ASCSN said, “It is surprising that the National Assembly wants to complicate the security challenges in the country by inviting millions of Nigerian workers to take to the streets by its insensitive decision to deregulate wage.
“The monthly take home pay of each member of the National Assembly is about N30m. Yet, they are pained that Nigerian workers receive N18, 000 monthly minimum wage which is about $109 per month.
“It must be emphasised that all countries of the world have National Minimum Wage which must be paid by all employers to their workers. Indeed the ILO Convention 131 of 1970, of which Nigeria is a signatory, requires member countries to institute a National Minimum Wage below which no employer should pay.”