Labour Unions in the country have handed down a 14-day ultimatum to the Federal Government to ensure completion of work on the implementation of the new national minimum wage or risk unprecedented industrial unrest in the country.
The labour unions gave this warning at the end of a joint briefing in Lagos. The union leader threatened that they could no longer guarantee industrial peace in the country at the expiration of the ultimatum.
According to the Labour Union Leaders, The press conference is made inevitable by the latest provocative statement from the Minister of Labour, Dr Chris Ngige, who said a few days ago that the committee should adjourn indefinitely to enable him do further consultations with the government.
“WE VIEW HIS LATEST PRONOUNCEMENT WITH GREAT CONCERN, SUSPICION AND OUTRAGE. THIS NEW ANTIC CERTAINLY IS NOT ACCEPTABLE TO NIGERIAN WORKERS WHO HAD EXPECTED A NEW NATIONAL MINIMUM WAGE SINCE 2016 BUT WHO OUT OF UNCOMMON SACRIFICE AND PATRIOTISM, HEARKENED TO GOVERNMENT’S APPEAL AND THE PROCESS WAS DELAYED”.
They, therefore, demand that government does all that is necessary to ensure that the Tripartite Committee is allowed to conclude its work within 14 days from today.
The labour Leaders noted the present posturing of the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, who functions as Acting Chairman of that committee brings back painful memories of precious time wasted, energies dissipated and hopes betrayed.
President Muhammadu Buhari, had in 2017, inaugurated the National Wage Committee led by a former Minister of Housing, and former Head of Service, Ms. Ama Pepple in order to recommend the long-clamour for minimum wage.
The last time minimum wage was reviewed was in 2011. Then, the wage was set at a paltry ₦18,000. It took 10 years to have this benchmark reviewed through a collective bargaining mechanism by the Government and the Labour unions.