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Minimum Wage saga: Nigerian Workers to stage ‘drastic actions’ against State Governments

by Christiana Gokyo, Jos

In view of the rising wave of impunity in the workplace and the actions of public sector employers, Nigerian Workers have indicated that they will soon commence actions against State Governments that are yet to fully implement the 2019 National Minimum Wage Law and owes arrears or salaries, pensions and allowances, among others.

According to them, they will also commence actions on private companies nationwide that have turned their workplaces as platforms for lawlessness and the dehumanization of workers.

This was their joint massage by the President of National Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Joe Ajaero, and the President of Trade Union Congress (TUC), Comrade Festus Osifo, during Workers Day Celebration, with a theme ‘Workers Rights and Socio-economic Justice,’ held at the Eagle Square in Abuja.

They observed that some State Governments continue to refuse to comply with the provisions of 2019 National Minimum Wage Act, while some have pocketed deducted check-off dues belonging to trade unions.

Worthy of note, they said, is that, “Some private sector employers have begun to act in total disregard to their laws and the various rules of engagement governing industrial relations in our country,” adding that, flagrant disobedience to their laws is abhorrent; thus all employers that are not complying with the dictates of their extant labour laws should be prepared for more ‘robust engagements’ with organized labour.

According to the organized Labour Unions recently, they engaged the government of Abia State to address serious industrial relations infractions in the state, which led to an industrial action but was resolved via an agreement, adding that, the Imo State, under Governor Hope Uzodimma, has posed a peculiar challenge to the rights of Nigerian Workers.

The State Government, they said, sponsored a violent attack against the NLC in the State, disrupting the State Delegates Conference organized to elect new leaders of the Congress in the state.

They said, this was because the workers resisted attempts by the State Government to impose its stooges on them, who it believed will continue to collude with it to continue inflicting pains and reign of terror on public servants in the state.

The leaders of the unions observed that, currently, workers’ salaries in the state are in arrears, pensions have gone unpaid and workers are declared “ghost workers” while on their duty posts, as well as leaving allowances and gratuities remain unpaid as the government has broken all records of impunity against workers in Nigeria.

“To show its contempt for dialogue, the State Government without reason aborted the signing of the agreement, which it had reached with us to resolve the dispute arising out of its ill treatment of workers.”

The leaders of the Organized Unions called on their members to continue working together and give their voice to all strata of workers whose voices are mute because no trade union currently represents them, adding, “but they shall continue to insist on deepening and expanding our engagements at the Revived NLAC to ensure that our extant laws and statutes remain in sync with international best practices and current realities.”

The leadership of the NLC and TUC observed that the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) is under attack by some South West Governors, who claim to have disbanded the unions in their domains.

They also noted that “The controversy surrounding the venue of this year’s May Day Celebration has demonstrated to all of us the nature and character of the battle ahead for all of us as workers, as a people and, much more as trade unions to stand together more than ever before to withstand the forces that are crystallizing against us.”

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