By Ese Awhotu
The Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, has ordered its state chapters to get prepared for a nationwide strike over delayed implementation of the N30,000 minimum wage.
General Secretary of the NLC, Emmanuel Ugbiaja, who signed the circular sent to state councils, said workers would commence industrial action should no agreement be reached by Wednesday.
The directive follows the expiration of the ultimatum issued by labour unions over the minimum wage implementation.
Recall that , the unions had issued a communiqué, warning that economic activities would be grounded on October 16 if the federal government failed to reconvene a meeting of the committee on consequential adjustments of workers’ salaries based on the new minimum wage.
NLC has however, now formally written a letter to state councils of the union to get set for an indefinite strike if the Federal Government fails to accept its demands on the consequential adjustment of salaries as a result of the new minimum wage by October 16, 2019.
The letter stated, “ You will recall that a joint communiqué was issued by the leadership of the NLC. Trade Union Congress and the Joint Public Service Negotiating Council and the Joint Public Service Negotiating Council stating that after two weeks from the date of the said communiqué, industrial harmony could not be guaranteed in the country should an agreement not be reached with the Federal Government on the consequential adjustment of salaries as a result of the new minimum wage of N30,000.
“You are hereby directed to coordinate preparations with TUC and JPSNC in your state for necessary industrial action should the time expire without an agreement as contained in the communiqué.”
The General Secretary of Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council, Alade Lawal, had last week hinted that mobilisation of workers for a possible industrial action after October 16 had reached an advanced stage.
According to him, the partial implementation of the minimum wage for levels one to six was a ‘divide and rule’ system that would be vehemently opposed by labour.
The Federal Government had said that the major reason for the delay in the full implementation of the minimum wage was the percentage salary increase for certain categories of workers.
While the federal government had presented a proposal of 11 per cent salary increase for officers on grade level 07 to14 and 6.5 per cent adjustment for workers of grade level 15 to 17, labour is demanding 29 per cent salary increase for officers on salary level 07 to 14 and 24 per cent adjustment for officers on salary grade level 15 to 17 .
However, there is no disagreement over the minimum wage to federal workers on grade 1-6 as that is already being implemented
On May 14, the Federal Government inaugurated the relativity and consequential adjustment committee, which in turn set up a technical sub-committee to work out a template for the adjustment of salaries of public service employees.
However, government and labour have failed to reach an agreement over relativity and consequential adjustments for the implementation of the new minimum wage more than six months after it was signed into law.