Labour threatens nationwide strike over minimum wage review





The organised labour has threatened a nationwide strike, if the government fails to begin process of reviewing the workers’ minimum wage.



It said workers are hungry and legitimately angry.

The National Union of Textile Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria (NUTGTWN), an affiliate member of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), issued the threat in Kaduna yesterday.

Addressing reporters with NUTGTWN National President Comrade John Adaji, the union’s General Secretary and Vice President, IndustriALL Global Union, Comrade Issa Aremu, called on the Federal Government to urgently constitute a committee on the review of the national minimum wage.

The labour union equally called on NLC and TUC to make urgent case for workers’ control of the country’s pension industry, saying pension fund is workers’ capital and should not be a play-ground to reward failed politicians.

According to Aremu, “As demonstrated by workers during the May Day in Abuja, Nigeria risks national industrial crisis, except governments at all levels give due attention to the critical issue of compensation of workers. Hungry workers are legitimately angry workers. Nigerian workers are not only hungry but legitimately angry.

“We commend both the Senate and the House of Representatives for their respective facilitating roles to address the current issue of national minimum wage. However, the responsibility lies squarely with President Muhammadu Buhari ably being represented by Vice President Osinbajo.”

“National Minimum Wage (Amendment) Act 2011, which offers the current N18,000 was for a five-year cycle due for review in 2015. The five-year time limit was to avoid minimum wage stagnation and attendant seemingly increases that follow. In United Kingdom (UK) minimum wage is reviewed yearly. Today, it is £7.5 per hour, about N37,000 per day!

“Long before the current recession, Nigeria workers have long been in depression. With Naira devaluation and high inflation, 2010 negotiated national minimum wage of N18,000, which was about $120 in 2010, has fallen to below $50 in 2017, worsening income poverty. Nigeria cannot get out of recession with poorly paid work-force,” the labour leader said.

He, however opined, that “the best way to reflate the economy is through wage increase linked with productivity improvement and prompt payment of the existing salaries by states and local governments.

“President Buhari should, therefore, urgently constitute the tripartite committee on the review of the current national minimum wage within a short time-limit”, he urged.

On the pension matter, the textile union leader said, NUTGTWN as an affiliate of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and a critical stakeholder in the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) was concerned with recent developments in the pension industry.

He added that Nigeria’s pension industry risks avoidable crisis following the recent abrupt termination of the appointment of Mrs. Chinelo Anohu-Amazu, former Director General of PenCom and appointment of Dikko Aliyu Abdulrahman as new director-general by President Muhammadu Buhari subject to confirmation by the Senate.

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