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MINIMUM WAGE: LABOUR GIVES FG 14-DAY ULTIMATUM

By NBF News
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Umar
Citing delay tactics by government, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) yesterday handed down a 14-day ultimatum to the Federal Government within which to initiate the process of implementation of the agreed new national minimum wage. Rising from a six-hour meeting of its National Executive Council (NEC) in Abuja, the organized labour said failure by government to accede to its demand, threatened to embark on a nationwide warning action in the first instance which would last from November 10 to 12, 2010.

Also, the union leaders called for the immediate sack of Mrs. Ayoka Adebayo, erstwhile Resident Electoral Commissioner in Ekiti, now in Ondo State over her alleged ignoble role in the electoral fraud in Ekiti State as revealed by the election petition appeal tribunal that annulled former Governor Segun Oni's election and declared Dr. Kayode Fayemi as the duly elected governor.

Addressing newsmen on the resolutions arrived at during the meeting, congress President, Abdulwaheed Omar, explained that the congress could no longer find explanation to the government's dilly dally over the national minimum wage, which negotiation commenced since 2008 and had to take a position

He described as unfortunate that negotiation started since 2008 with a committee set up to work out the modalities after which the committee's recommendations were subjected to another rounds of negotiation by a tripartite committee which met and made recommendations to government but which had not materialized into any tangible outcome. According to him, 'the meeting condemned the delay in the implementation of a new national minimum wage since the conclusion of negotiations early this year and observed that there is a deliberate connivance between government and the private sector to scuttle the implementation of a new national minimum wage.

'NEC-in-Session resolved that as a result of this reluctance by government to implement the new national minimum wage several months after the negotiations ended and recommendations made, the Nigeria Labour Congress will embark on a three-day warning strike. 'Towards this end, NEC-in-Session resolved to give government the 14-day statutory notice after which it will embark on the warning strike. NEC-in-Session resolved that the three-day warning strike would begin on Wednesday, November 10 to Friday, November 12, 2010.'

Consequently, the labour would to set up a National Minimum Wage Strike Committee to drive the process for intensive mobilisation for a very successful strike, by making necessary arrangement with the congress sister organisation, the Trade Union Congress for a successful outing. On Mrs. Ayoka, the NLC NEC resolved to embark on series of protests to demand her removal just as it did to give vent to the demand for the removal of the former chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Maurice Iwu to serve as deterrent to others in her mould.

Said he: 'NEC-in-Session noted with happiness that the struggle by the congress for a credible electoral process in Nigeria has not been in vain given that the sack of Prof Maurice Iwu and the subsequent appointment of Prof. Attahiru Jega as the new chairman of INEC resulted from the pressure mounted on government by the congress. NEC resolved that congress will give all its maximum support to the new INEC chairman to achieve credible, free and fair elections in 2011.'