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DON'T STAMPEDE FG INTO MEETING WAGE DEMAND, KOKORI, ACF,TELLS LABOUR

By NBF News
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Foremost Labour activist and former president of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), Chief Frank Kokori has advised Labour to shelve the industrial action which begins today.

According to him, the minimum wage is a serious issue, adding that the FG needs ample of time to evaluate the bandwagon effect before an agreement could be reached

He said many people did not understand the implication.

Kokori said that if the strike action is carried out, it would cause untold hardship on the masse. According to him, the strike would spill over to the weekend and is likely to become full blown and shut down the country

Kokori said that the most important thing in minimum wage is the ability to pay.

He said that government most of the time doesn't understand the implication of what they signed until they get back to office and the account and budgeting office see it and discover that they cannot pay.

Kokori said the Federal Government can pay but the bandwagon effect would not allow the state governments to pay.

'My advice to the Labour organizations is that they should suspend the proposed strike.

In the same vein, the Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, warned that the strike may bring untoward hardship on Nigerians.

To this end, it called on both government and the NLC to engage in 'constructive' dialogue, with a view to resolving the impasse.

In a statement signed by the ACF's National Publicity Secretary, Anthony Sani, and made available to Daily Sun in Kaduna yesterday, the group said 'while the forum appreciates the need for living wages for all workers in Nigeria and the need for thorough consideration on the part of the government of this matter of national importance, it is the considered view of ACF that the management of this labour dispute should not cause untold hardship to the people whom both the government and the workers profess to serve.

'Towards this end, ACF appeals to the the NLC and government to engage in constructive dialogue towards reaching acceptable terms for the common good.

Also, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has been urged to resist being used by desperate politicians to frustrate the 2011 elections.

Also the National Co-ordinator of the Movement For Good Governance in Bayelsa State (MFGG), Dr. George Fente, made the call at the Port Harcourt International Airport while on his way to Abuja.

Fente said the call was induced by alleged moves by some, 'overzealous politicians in the country to whip up unnecessary political sentiments' to justify the proposed three-day warning strike by labour. He alleged that some political office seekers were drumming support for the planned strike for their selfish political interests.

Dr. Fente wondered why the leadership of the workers union insisted on the warning strike even after the sub-committee meeting of stake-holders.

In his reasoning, labour's insistence to down tools was 'not only politically induced but ill-timed, ill-advised and unwarranted'.The former Special Adviser to Governor Timipre Sylva on Political Matters saw the strike as part of a plot to blackmail and truncate the presidential ambition of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan.

'Otherwise, why would the NLC still insist on the warning strike when it was obvious that the various processes towards the implementation of the national minimum wage had commenced?. He queried.

The Rivers State Police Command has strategized to curb security challenges during the) Nationwide warning strike slated for Wednesday to Friday.

To this end, it has beefed up security to ensure that the demonstration did not degenerate into a breakdown of law and order in the state.

Speaking in an interview with Daily Sun in Port Harcourt, the Police spokesman Mr. Akin Fakorede (SP) said 'Though we do not expect it to be lawless, but we are prepared to ensure it was smooth and would not degenerate to breakdown of law and order'.

MR. Fakorede a Superintendent of Police said the Command had 'put more men on patrol, mobilized the anti riot police, opened our emergency line open for communication with the public and involved other security measures to see that some hoodlums would not cease that opportunity to commit crime in the state'.

He said that the police would do its best to see that the strike would be peaceful in Rivers.