NLC declares total strike from today after botched meeting with FG

Labour makes fresh demand for higher minimum wage 

By Patience Danjuma 

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has declared a total strike following the outcome of a meeting with a Federal Government delegation led by the Minister of Labour, Chris Ngige. 

At a press conference in Abuja on Wednesday, NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, said both parties could not reach an agreement at the meeting.

Wabba said the strike will be total and comprehensive.

“In compliance with this mandate, all workers and private sector at all levels across the country have been directed to comply.

“All public and private institutions, offices, banks, schools, public and private business premises including filling station are to remain shut till further noticed,” he said. 

“We just had a meeting where the Minister of Labour, Ngige tried to update us. This is the first meeting and he tried to update us on what they are trying to do. The briefing needs to be communicated to our membership,” Wabba said.

According to him, “our demand is that the tripartite negotiating council should be called back to conclude its assignment on minimum wage.”

Wabba called on NLC members across the country to ensure full compliance with the industrial action, starting by midnight on Wednesday.

The leadership of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and other stakeholders of the organised labour attended the meeting.

Labour had declared the strike over the alleged delay of the Federal Government to implement the new minimum wage for workers. 

The National Minimum Wage Committee was inaugurated November 2017 but commenced work March this year and drew timelines to deliver a new national minimum wage by August/September.

Ngige had in February at the 40th anniversary celebration of the NLC assured workers they would have a new minimum wage by September.

The workers are demanding between N50,000 and 65,000 as the new minimum wage. The current national minimum wage is N18,000.  

Meanwhile, the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Baru, has warned motorists and other consumers of petroleum products across the country not to engage in panic buying of products over the planned industrial action.

Baru said the Federal Government was seriously engaging the NLC on the issues it raised, a release by NNPC Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, said in Abuja on Wednesday.

Ughamadu quoted the NNPC GMD as affirming that the Nation had a 37- day petroleum Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), otherwise called petrol, self- sufficiency, assuring that all the NNPC’s depots across the country, including the private ones engaged by the corporation on throughput basis, have an abundance of petroleum products to meet the needs of Nigerians.

The statement said all NNPC depot managers have been instructed to intensify products loading and other activities in their depots to avert any fallout of developments in respect of the NLC’s proposed strike.

Baru explained that the NNPC would continue to meet the products consumption needs of all Nigerians wherever they may be within the shores of the country. 

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