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Thursday, June 13, 2024

NLC:Nationwide Strike For Minimum Wage Commenced Today

Despite appeals from the federal government, organized labor has commenced a nationwide strike today to demand a new national minimum wage for workers.

The strike follows failed negotiations between the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), and federal government representatives. Talks broke down last Friday after the government’s revised offer of N60,000 was rejected by labor representatives, who are demanding N494,000 to account for the rising cost of living.

Several unions, including the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE), National Union of Banks Insurance and Financial Institutions Employees (NUBIFIE), and others, have mobilized for the strike. Additional unions, such as the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) and the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), have also confirmed their participation.

Efforts by the National Assembly to mediate were unsuccessful. The federal government has urged the labor unions to continue negotiations, deeming the strike “premature, ineffectual, and illegal.”

The Attorney General of the Federation, Prince Lateef Fagbemi, stated that ongoing negotiations had not concluded and emphasized the need to balance the interests of all employers, including the organized private sector.

In response to the strike call, unions in the aviation sector announced plans to shut down airports, starting from local airports today and international airports tomorrow. The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) and the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) also confirmed their participation, which will significantly impact economic activities and academic schedules.

Legal expert and business consultant, Mr. Chyma Anthony, warned that the proposed N494,000 minimum wage could lead to hyperinflation, urging labor to instead focus on reducing energy prices and improving security.

The presidency also cautioned against the high wage demand, citing potential economic fallout such as job losses and increased prices. Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, emphasized the broader economic implications, urging labor to consider more pragmatic solutions.

The nationwide strike marks a critical juncture in the ongoing dispute over minimum wage adjustments, with significant repercussions for various sectors across Nigeria.

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