Following the November 19, 2015 declaration by the State Governors that they would no longer be able to pay the N18, 000 national minimum wage because of the restrictions cause by the dwindling oil revenue, they should be well braced for imminent confrontation with the workers of the federation. .
The declaration has aroused stern objections among the workers’ groups in Nigeria, with Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) threatening to close down the country’s labour participation if the governors insist on implementing the decision.
The President of the NLC, Ayuba Wabba, in his reaction to the declaration spoke against the governors’ declaration by saying “Nigerian workers would vehemently and totally reject it.”
Mr. Wabba stressed further that the NLC would come out with an official stand in respect of the shocking declaration at the end of its Central Working Committee (CWC) meeting on Friday November 20, 2015.
In the same vein, another Comrade, Joe Ajaero, described the Governors’ declaration as “empty threat that should be ignored.”
Comrade Ajaero said further that “The governors should not start a battle they would not sustain or finish, because Nigerian workers have the capacity to retrench them.”
Meanwhile, the Chairman of Trade Union Congress, Rivers State Chapter, Mr. Hyginus Onuegbu revealed that though the Union agrees that Nigerian economy is in a very bad situation due to the drastic fall in oil price from $115 per barrel in June 2014 to around $38 per barrel at present, the present state of the economy happened as a result of poor governance and corruption by politicians.
Mr. Onuegbu remarked that the political leaders various levels made no effort to avert the unprecedented oil theft of around 400,000 barrels of oil per day which in turn brought about a heavy loss of revenues that should have reflected in the Federation Account.
He urged the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) dialogue with NLC and TUC as dialogue is the only way to establish acceptable “win-win solutions” in a bid to salvage the current problem instead of saying what may worsen the economic crisis and overheat the environment.
He said, “We want to state very categorically that this is not a time for any unilateral action by any level of government as such will be resisted by the workers and the unions that represent them. Nigerian workers will not accept any reduction in the meagre N18, 000 minimum wage.”