WE HAVE NO DEAL WITH JONATHAN -LABOUR
Labour said yesterday that it has not entered into any deal with President Goodluck Jonathan over his presidential bid.
Labour, while speaking against the background of insinuations in some quarters that its meeting with the President on Tuesday was to drum up support for President Jonathan as it was with the meeting with the National Union of Road Transport Workers, which later declared for his candidature.
President of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Abdulwaheed Omar explained during a news briefing on Wednesday that labour had not endorsed President Jonathan as being peddled nor any other presidential , for the forthcoming presidential election.
He stated that members of the NLC comprising the Central Working Committee (CWC) were at the presidential villa on a fact-finding mission and met with the President purely on the status of the New Minimum Wage Bill.
He stated further that the congress on getting to know that what was happening to hye bill commended the president for the signing of the N18, 000 National Minimum Wage into Act.
Omar argued that workers were part of Nigerian public and would vote for candidates that would better their lot as they did not see politics or read politics into what the president had done by signing the bill into law after it was passed by the National Assembly.
He emphasized that the N18, 000 minimum wage was the bench mark across the federation which all the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory must pay.
He also pointed out that the NLC and Nigerian workers would prefer labour-friendly candidates and individuals and would identify this and vote for the candidate of their choices.
He however, denied knowledge of some of the congress' state branches who were endorsing candidates, saying, NLC officials would look at the situation and react accordingly.
On the NLC affiliates that had endorsed President Jonathan, such as the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT), the union which he belongs, Omar argued that he had no control over the decision of the affiliate unions, adding that if their congresses or National Executive Council (NEC) decided on that, he could not overturn it.
Said he: 'We were at the Presidential Villa yesterday to meet with Mr. President; at least you did not hear us that we have endorsed the president or any of the candidates. We cannot endorse any candidate but we will want a labour- friendly president.
'Anyone that is labour friendly, we will identify at our individual level and vote for such a candidate,' Omar said.
The NLC president still commended President Jonathan for signing the N18, 000 national minimum wage into law, saying: 'The meeting with President Jonathan went well. The President has already signed it into law and he confirmed it. We thank the President for fulfilling his pledge. This has averted a major industrial crisis at this critical time of elections.
'You will recalled that NLC has summoned a meeting of the Central Working Committee (CWC) on Tuesday in line with the resolution taking at the conference that workers will not work without the concretization of the issue of national minimum wage before the commencement of the general elections and it was also the decision of workers through the conference that even with an important thing like the elections when workers begin a strike action on that, they will not stop until something is done.