AGF cautions on breach of court order as nationwide strike begins

 The last-minute move to avert the indefinite  strike action called by the Nigeria Labour Congress ( NLC), Trade Union Congress(TUC) and the affiliate bodies, failed Sunday, as the National Assembly-led truce could not achieve the desired truce.

To this end, the industrial action begins Monday June 3, 2024, even as the federal government declared it illegal and warned the leadership of the unions of dire consequences for violating a subsisting court order, which has neither been stayed nor vacated.

At the meeting were Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Senator George Akume, Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy  Wale Edun , Minister of  Budget and National Planning Senator Atiku Bagudu, Minister  of  Power , Adebayo Adelabu, Minister of Information and National Orientation Mohammed Idris, NLC President  Comrade Joe Ajaero and his TUC counterpart, Festus Osifo among others.

But notwithstanding the federal government’s warning, the Labour has vowed to carry out the strike as it directed all state councils of the unions to ensure total compliance.

The action has also enjoyed the support of unions in the oil, electricity, financial and other critical sectors, who all pledged their total support.

The strike notice

Last Friday, the duo of NLC and TUC announced an indefinite nationwide strike over the government’s failure to agree on a new national minimum wage and reverse the recent hike in electricity tariff.

Their leaders, had, on Workers Day, celebrations given a May 31 deadline to the federal government to wrap up talks on a new national minimum wage or risk nationwide industrial action.

The tripartite committee on a new National Minimum Wage set up by the government, failed to make a decision on a new national minimum wage after about four meetings.

Labour leaders had walked out of the meetings three times after rejecting offers by the government and that of the Organised Private Sector (OPS).

Incidentally, the last walkout occurred Friday, a day the deadline labour gave the government to conclude a new minimum wage lapsed, as the old minimum wage of N30, 000 signed into law by former President Muhammad Buhari  April 18, 2019, expired April 18, 2024.

It would be recalled that labour, had May 31, walked out of the tripartite meeting, following the government’s refusal to make a new offer beyond the N60,000 the latter had put forward as against the N615,000 demanded by labour.

…Akpabio, Abbas, Idris speak

Briefing journalists after the end of the meeting, Senate President  Godswill Akpabio said tremendous appeal was made to the Labour leaders to call off the strike as the National Assembly steps into the matter directly with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu. 

“After about four hours deliberation with leadership of the Organized Labour, we resolved that the federal government should re-introduce the wage Award of N35, 000 given to all categories of federal workers from October last year to February this year , pending the time the issue of minimum wage is resolved.

“We have appealed to the organized labour to shelve the strike action because of the consequences and collateral damage involved. For example, we cannot at this time allow hospitals to be shut down to save the lives of those on emergencies or aided by oxygen to breath.

“We are very much aware of all the steps taken by the Federal Government and Labour to agree on acceptable minimum wage and very much ready to join in the negotiation by reaching out to President Bola Tinubu. 

“We believe that leadership of the organized labour after leaving here, will reach out to their entire membership to call of the strike in the interest of all Nigerians.”

Similarly, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Tajudeen Abbas, said:” The  take-home  from the meeting were that the federal government would be prevailed upon to re- introduce the N35, 000 wage award pending the time agreement on minimum wage is reached between it and the labour unions.

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