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Minimum wage: Labour mobilises for strike Tuesday

Babajide Okeowo

The organised labour on Friday said it had started mobilisation of members ahead of the January 8 strike over payment of the agreed N30,000 New minimum wage.

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that workers had been informed on the strategic roles to play while awaiting further instructions from their leaders.

The three labour centres, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) and the United Labour Congress (ULC), had met on December 20, 2018.

The organised labour gave the Federal Government on or before December 31, 2018 to submit the Tripartite Committee Report on the N30,000 minimum wage to the National Assembly or face strike.

Meanwhile, the government was expected to meet with some of the labour leaders on Friday to forestall the planned strike.

Mr Chris Onyeka, Deputy General Secretary, ULC, said that labour had started reaching out to their allies and those in the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs).

Onyeka said that though not all members of the Organised  Labour would be at Friday’s meeting with the government, the mobilisation would still continue.

He said that the plan was to seek audience with all relevant CSOs for their support and effective participation in the sensitisation strike scheduled for Jan. 8.

Mr John Johnson-Isok, an Iron and Steel union member, said that various executive members of the union were discussing modalities to make the strike effective, should the government failed to accede to their demand.

“Our demand is clear; transmit the N30,000 recommended by the National Minimum Wage Committee to the National Assembly for action, and we will wait for the lawmakers to take their decision,’’ Johnson-Isok said.

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NAN further gathered that the planned strike may be all-encompassing, as the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), whose undergraduate members from the public universities, had been at home, may mobilise and join the action.

Mr Smith Olaitan, a student union leader, said that the ongoing strike by Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) had paralysed academic activities in the universities.

However, some workers, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that the planned strike at the beginning of the year, would unleash hard times on Nigerians, unless averted.

The workers said that petroleum products, foodstuffs, medical and transportation services, including aviation and other essentials may be in short supply.

Labour suspended its national strike on the minimum wage about two months ago to enable the government  take a decisive action on it.