We Can’t Declare Strike Today, Says NLC, Awaits Tinubu’s Intervention

In an effort to push for a new national minimum wage, Joe Ajaero, the president of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), has declared that there won’t be any strikes on Tuesday.

During the current International Labour Conference (ILC), which is being held in Geneva, Switzerland under the auspices of the International Labour Organization (ILO), Ajaero disclosed this on Monday.

Ajaero made it clear that even though the government and organized employers have suggested raising the minimum wage to N62,000, this does not imply that the labor unions have approved of the plan. The new minimum wage that the labor unions have suggested is N250,000, a far higher amount. To clear up any misunderstandings that the labor unions support the N62,000 figure, this statement is crucial. Ajaero stressed that talks and agreements are still in progress.

He said: “The tripartite committee submitted two figures to the President. Government and employers proposed N62,000 while labour proposed N250,000. We are waiting for the decision of the President. Our National Executive Council (NEC) will deliberate on the new figure when it is out.”

On the expiration of the one-week ‘relaxation’ of the suspended strike that is expected to resume on Tuesday, Ajaero said: “We cannot declare strike now because the figures are with the President. We will wait for the President’s decision.”

“During the tenure of the immediate past President, the figure that was proposed to him was N27,000 by the tripartite committee but he increased it to N30,000. We are hopeful that this President will do the right thing. The President had noted that the difference between N62,000 and N250,000 is a wide gulf.”

The NLC helmsman also berated the governor of the 36 states under the umbrella body of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum for rejecting the N62,000 saying, “How can any governor say he cannot pay? They cannot also be calling for the decentralization of the minimum wage.”

“Are there wages decentralized? Governors whose states are not contributing a dime to the national purse and who generate pitiable Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) are collecting the same amount as governors whose states are generating billions of dollars into the FAAC.”

“They should decentralize their salaries and emoluments first. So, where is the governor of Edo state, Godwin Obaseki getting his money from? He is paying N70,000 minimum wage. This is the type of governor that should be emulated and not the lazy ones.”