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Trade union gives FG 14-day ultimatum to announce new Minimum Wage

Valentine Chinyem

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The Trade Union Congress (TUC) yesterday gave the Federal Government a 14-day ultimatum to announce a new national minimum wage.

TUC President, Bobboi Kaigama, at a press conference in Lagos, warned that failure to meet the ultimatum which started yesterday might affect the industrial peace and harmony in the country.
The ultimatum was a reaction to a statement credited to the Minister of Labour, Chris Ngige, that the committee should adjourn indefinitely to enable him do further consultations with the government.

Kaigama said: “The Minister’s pronouncement is capable of rubbishing the work of the committee as well as raising serious concerns about the readiness of the government to accede to the putting together of a new national minimum wage.

Beyond this, the Minister’s pronouncement has generated considerable tension among workers and provoked sharp reactions from the unions which justifiably argue that the Government is only out to waste the time of workers and is not prepared to pay a new national minimum wage”.

He said before the announcement, the committee was satisfied that it received memoranda and inputs from 21 state governments, specialized Agencies of the Federal Government, the Organized Private Sector (OPS), Organised Labour and the general public adding that the national minimum wage was not only legally due about two years ago.

“The increase in the pump price of petroleum products by this administration with fundamental consequential effects on the citizenry, the increase in electricity tariff, the massive devaluation of the Naira leading to a punitive exchange rate, and hyper-inflation, all of which led to a rising cost of living for workers and other Nigerians made a new national minimum wage not only necessary but urgent.

The president of Nigeria Labour Congress, Ayuba Wabba, had said in Abuja that the government was not prepared for an upward review of the minimum wage.

He said that the NLC had summoned the meeting of its organs for next week to report the government and take the next action “to ensure that the interests of the workers are not undermines.”