Halt Planned Strike And Return To Negotiating Table, FG Tells Labour

The Federal Government has appealed to organized labour to reconsider its planned industrial action and return to the negotiating table. This appeal comes in response to the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) declaring an indefinite strike starting Monday. The unions’ decision is in protest against the recent hike in electricity tariffs and the deadlock in negotiations over a new national minimum wage.

Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, made the appeal on Saturday, urging the labour unions to reflect on the broader economic implications of their demands. Idris emphasized the need for the unions to consider the financial burden that the proposed N494,000 new minimum wage would place on the government, suggesting that such a significant increase might be unsustainable given the current economic conditions.

The planned strike by the NLC and TUC highlights the ongoing frustrations of workers facing increased living costs and stagnant wages. The unions have been pushing for immediate action to address these issues, arguing that the government’s measures have so far been inadequate.

“Like I said now on the 31st of May 2024 in one of its meetings, which is supposed to be the seventh meeting of the tripartite agreement, labour walked out of that meeting,” he said in Abuja.

“This of course was to be the third time that labour was walking out of the meeting of the tripartite committee. On the two previous occasions, labour was persuaded to see reasons to come back to the negotiating table. We are also hoping that labour will again see reasons this time around to also return to negotiating table in the interest of Nigeria.”

He said: “The sum of N494,000 national minimum wage which labour is seeking would cumulatively amount to the sum N9.5 trillion bill to the Federal Government of Nigeria”.

The Federal Government’s plea came at the same time that the Bauchi State Governor Bala Mohammed begged labour to halt the planned industrial action.

He spoke after he alongside his Edo State counterpart Godwin Obaseki and some members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) national working committee visited Governor Alex Otti of Abia in his hometown of Isiala-Ngwa Local Government Area the South-East state.

“Some of the state governors will not be able to pay. Even at the moment, the current minimum wage of N30,000, some states are not able to pay. And I know labor leaders are really leaders,” he said.

“They should look at this because the strike may cripple the economy and further cause pain to workers and all of us. So, we are pleading that we should have a combining point where we can look at our affordability.”

Before the declaration of strike, the organised labour had rejected three offers from the Federal Government.

The Federal Government during the sixth meeting of the tripartite committee offered to pay N60,000 as minimum wage, an offer the organised labour rejected, as they insisted on N497,000.