Minimum Wage Delay: Group Urges Labour To Declare Nationwide Strike

The Campaign for Democratic and Workers’ Rights (CDWR) has urged Organised Labour to mobilise immediately and declare a nationwide strike over the minimum wage and the recent hike in electricity tariffs.

The CDWR called on the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) to declare and widely mobilise for a 48-hour general strike and mass protest. The demand includes a minimum wage of at least N200,000 and the reversal of anti-poor policies, such as privatization, deregulation, subsidy removal, and the recent electricity tariff hike.

In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Chinedu Bosah, CDWR highlighted the ongoing deadlock in negotiations between NLC, TUC, the government, and the private sector over a new minimum wage.

The government’s and private sector’s insistence on paying N60,000 led to the declaration of an indefinite strike that began on June 3, 2024, but was suspended the following day. The CDWR’s call aims to intensify efforts to secure a fair minimum wage and protect workers’ rights.

The group contended that “The mass protest of mostly young people has just forced the Ruto-led government in Kenya to withdraw the IMF/World Bank-inspired tax increment policy. This example shows that it is also possible for Nigerian working people and youth to force the Tinubu-led government to reverse the prices of petroleum products, electricity tariffs, fee hikes in public schools, and all other neo-liberal capitalist policies, policies which would give some immediate respite to most Nigerians.”

“CDWR calls on the leadership of NLC and TUC, as the next step in the minimum wage struggle, to declare and this time mobilise widely for a 48-hour general strike and mass protest to demand a minimum wage not less than N200, 000 and the reversal of all anti-poor policies (privatization, deregulation, subsidy removal, electricity tariff hike etc).”

“However, given the recent failures of the NLC and TUC to seriously mobilise trade unionists and activists must themselves take steps to organise a campaign at grass roots level to both build support for the struggle and for the trade unions to have leaders who take their responsibilities seriously.”

“Amongst the immediate demands should be the call for the inclusion of a demand that the minimum wage must be automatically adjusted in line with the rate of inflation and rising cost of living, minimum wage need not wait for four or five years before adjustment.”

”This may forestall needless long negotiations and ensure wages do not fall behind the inflationary rate and poverty line. However, we should add that it will require a serious struggle to force the capitalist elite to agree to this and actually implement it as they will try to take back any concessions they have been forced to make.”