The Trade Union Congress and the Nigeria Labour Congress will begin a nationwide mobilisation in preparation for the strike which is set for November 6, 2018
The President of the Trade Union Congress, Bobboi Kaigama, told SUNDAY PUNCH that the strike will go as planned should the government refuse to peg the minimum wage at N30,000.
Kaigama said the devaluation of the naira coupled with the high inflation rate had made life unbearable for Nigerian workers.
He said, “We are going to have a nationwide mobilisation on October 31 which is Tuesday across all 36 states and Abuja. Then we will be in Lagos to review our strategy and if there is no positive response by November 6, we will resume our strike.”
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, had said last Thursday that N30,000 as minimum wage for civil servants was not feasible.
Speaking during a Channels TV programme, Adesina said even if public office holders sacrifice their entire pay, that will not still make such minimum wage achievable.
He said even some governors are unable to pay the N18,000, not to talk of N30,000.
“I think in the spirit of negotiation, labour should not insist on N30,000,” he had said.
However, Kaigama said unions would take the Federal Government more seriously if the salaries and allowances of government officials were slashed.
He added, “Let them cut their allowances first. Let them reduce it by half then we will know that they are serious. Our demands are realistic. It wasn’t Nigerian workers that devalued the naira. It was not Nigerian workers that caused the inflation to rise.
“We are saying they should pay us the 2011 equivalent of N18, 000. That is what we are asking for. They devalued the naira and it has virtually become useless. The purchasing power of the naira is weak.
“So, the Nigerian workers cannot become beggars and a government that claims to be fighting corruption must not leave workers to be vulnerable to the extent that they will see crime as an option. So, let them be fair to us. Paying school fees is very expensive.”
The organised labour has been at loggerheads with the Federal Government over a demand for an increase in the minimum wage.
The unions rejected the proposal of the government to raise the minimum wage from N18,000 to N24,000.