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MINIMUM WAGE: NLC DECLARES TOTAL WAR ON ERRING STATES

By NBF News
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The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), yesterday said it is ready to go to war with state governors that have refused implement the N18,000, National Minimum Wage Act, signed into law by President Goodluck Jonathan, after the expiration date of August, 31, 2001, saying it would make such states ungovernable.

Similarly, the NLC has threatened to mobilize other trade unions and civil society groups to ensure that the ongoing probe on privatization by the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) at the Senate would not only continue but see to its logical conclusion.

Rising from an emergency National Executive Council meeting yesterday in Abuja, NLC president, Abdulwaheed Omar said it had come to the notice of labour that some state governors had bluntly made up their minds not to pay the N18,000, irrespective of the action labour might decide to take, even if it embarked on a one year strike.

Omar, while calling on such states governors to have a rethink about their decisions in the interest of the nation and make a u-turn, said 'the NLC and NEC have also decided that in the case of those very extreme states that insist that they will not pay minimum wage, that in the event that even the strikes would not yield any results, that the entire congress would now map out the next line of action without even ruling out the possibility of massive invasion of the particular state by workers from all over this country until minimum wage is paid in such states.'

The NLC president also said that 'in those states where the government decided not even respond to the calls by the states councils for negotiations to commence, that immediate ultimatum be served those states.'

He said the NLC and the organized labour would not rest until the N18,000, minimum wage was implemented across board in all states of the federation, irrespective of the threats being issued by some state government.

Omar, who said the issue of the national minimum wage, which had been on for some time ought to have been over by now, if all state government had agreed to go ahead with the implementation, noted that while negotiations had already been concluded between government and labour in some states, negotiations were either ongoing or were just holding in some other states. He noted that 'the last segment of the states are those states that deliberately decided not to respond to the call of the labour leaders in the respective states regarding the negotiations of the implementation of the new National Minimum Wage Act.' He said.

While commending some state government for taking the right decision to pay the N18,000, minimum wage, Omar, said the implementation should not exceed the August,31, deadline and that states where negotiations were still ongoing, must be concluded before the end of this month of August, for the implementation to commence immediately.

On the ongoing probe on privitazation on the sale of government companies, which he said bothers on national interest, Omar said 'NEC has taken a resolution that NLC, along other trade union centres and also civil society collision must lead in ensuring that the ongoing probe of the privatization by the senate will not only continue but must get to its logical conclusion.'

He also said the NEC had taken a decision to set up a committee to map out a road map towards sensitizing Nigerians, especially the workers to ensure probity and accountability by government and that all those privatized institutions, where Nigerians feel that they had been short changed must be probed with a view to making sure that the truth was brought out and all those that would be found culpable were brought to book and punished accordingly.