By Patrick Ochei
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has directed its members nationwide to come out enmasse to protest the delay in implementing the N30,000 minimum wage report submitted to the government by the tripartite committee last year.
NLC has it would no longer tolerate the insincerity of government to transmit the executive bill on National Minimum Wage to the National Assembly to be passed into law.
This decision was made known to members in Delta state by the state chapter chairman, Comrade Jonathan Jemirieyigbe, during an extraordinary emergency meeting of the state executive council held at the Labour House in Asaba.
The chairman commended affiliate members for their firmness ever since the demand for N30,000 minimum wage commenced, adding that the organised labour has resolved to press home its demands from the government.
According to him: “We are still negotiating with the federal government. It is unfortunate that since the tripartite committee submitted its report to the federal government on the new national minimum wage, up till now the presidency has not come up with the executive bill to the National Assembly.
“Based on the last correspondence we got from the National Office of NLC, what we are embarking on tomorrow is strictly an elaborate mass rally and not strike as was earlier believed.
“There is a meeting with government this evening, still negotiating the matter. But after tonight, we will be able to know whether we are embarking on full fledged strike or not”, Comrade Jonathan affirmed.
The chairman also hinted that he was in touch with the counterpart Trade Union Congress, TUC, to know if the NLC is jointly embarking on the rally with them or not, maintaining that the minimum wage issue is a struggle that involves all workers.
Comrade Jonathan also asserted that it is in the interest of government to honour the decision reached by the Tripartite Committee and implement the outcome of the report by first sending the National Minimum Wage Bill to the National Assembly for an Act of Law.
He however, encouraged affiliate unions to mobilize their members for the solidarity mass rally to protest against government insincerity and oppression. He therefore appealed to various MDAs not to see workers who would be on the rally tomorrow as people who absconded from their duty posts.
He however, warned that workers who would not be in the rally should be at work, affirming that there would be an attendance list to justify those who would come out for rally, adding that those who would dodge the both would answer for themselves at the office.
In addition, the State Secretary of NLC, Comrade Innocent Ofuonyeadi confirmed that the letter from the national body clearly stated that State Chapters should mobilize members for the rally and protest, just as decided at the Organised Labour’s December 19 meeting in Abuja.
He averred that it is going to be an advocacy rally to target the Governors, while also sensitizing workers to prepare for the worst with strike imminent.
“The meeting this evening will determine whether we will continue with the rally or engage in strike. But we must prepare for the worst.
It is our unequivocal resolve that government should send the national minimum wage bill to the National Assembly to make it an Act. It is the Act that gives us power to pursue the government to pay the N30,000 minimum wage”, Ofuonyeadi concluded.
Meanwhile, appeal has gone out to chairmen of affiliate unions to mobilize their members in large numbers to prosecute the Rally tomorrow. The meeting point is at the Labour House at nine in the morning; to be supervised by Comrade Chris Ani, an official from the national secretariat of NLC.