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Economy: New minimum wage is imperative, urgent – NLC

Ayuba Wabba, NLC say in view of the growing difficulties in the economy associated with inflation and devaluation of the Naira, a new minimum wage is not only imperative but urgent

An Emergency Central Working Committee [CWC] Meeting of the Nigeria Labour Congress Held On Sunday, August 14, 2016 At The Airport Hotel, Ikeja – Lagos

The meeting reviewed the state of the nation noting:

– the challenges in the economy; 

– non-payment of salaries and pensions as when due; 

– disobedience to the court order that electricity tariffs be reviewed downward; 

– surreptitious attempt by oil marketers to increase the pump price of petroleum products; 

– systematic attacks on workers’ rights across the states especially in Nasarawa state where two workers were killed and several others injured and an attempted cover-up;

– legislating new working days in Imo State in contravention of Labour Laws/ILO Conventions, issues that are purely on the Legislative List; 

serial/unlawful killing of innocent citizens by the Police in Kogi and Nassarawa states.

1)      CWC-in-session noted that the meeting with the Governor of Nassarawa state, Alhaji Tanko Al-Makura was consensual and was intended to resolve the long standing dispute between the workers and the state government for systematically attacking workers’ rights such as unilaterally reviewing downward workers’ salaries in Nasarawa State; systematic sacking of workers under the guise that they are ghost workers;

2)      CWC-in-session observed that even if workers were on protest, the right to lawful assembly and protest is guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution, Labour Legislations and ILO Conventions to which Nigeria is a signatory;

3)      CWC-in-session observed that without provocation, the police opened fire at defenceless and peaceful workers;

4)      CWC-in-session expressed its outrage at the concerted effort by the Nasarawa Police Command and the government of Nassarawa state at a criminal cover-up;

5)      The CWC-in-session described the shooting as barbaric, tragic and saddening, noting that the absence of remorse by the Nasarawa Police Command or the Nasarawa state Governor shows it was a premeditated action;

6)      CWC-in-session said the mindless violence unleashed on workers is part of a calculated attempt by some Governors to silence lawful and peaceful protests against their acts of impunity, unlawful and criminal conduct and will be resisted by workers with everything workers have;

7)      CWC-in-session commended the leadership of the Congress for its initiative on the actions it has taken so far on the matter;

8)      CWC-in-session also observed that there have been systematic and co-ordinated attacks on the rights of workers in some states especially, Nasarawa, Kogi and Imo by way of non-payment of salaries/pensions; illegal whittling down of the workforce via declaration of workers as ghost workers; unlawful abrogation of working days/hours; and surreptitious sacking of workers;

9)      CWC-in-session also noted that in spite of the subsisting court order declaring as illegal the electricity tariff review, NERC and DISCOs are yet to comply with the court order;

10)     CWC-in-session expressed concern at the body language of the oil marketers which points to the process of yet another round of increase in the pump price of petroleum products, warning that another spate of increase in any form will not be acceptable.

In view of the foregoing, CWC-in-session resolved to:

1.      Demand for full justice for the injured and the dead by way of unbiased investigation, appropriate punishment and full compensation for the victims of this senseless shooting;

2.      Put in place a series of actions to compel the government of Nassarawa state and Nassarawa Police Command to account for their actions;

3.      Keep on demanding for the rights of workers within the ambit of the law and that any further casualty arising from the shooting by the police or any agency of the government shall be met with appropriate response;

4.      Declare 23rd August, 2016 as national day of mourning in honour of the dead and injured workers in Nasarawa state;

5.      Invite Nigerian workers and civil society allies from across the country to Lafia on 23rd August, 2016, to peacefully protest against the illegal actions, impunity and murderous schemes of Governor Tanko Al-Makura;

6.      CWC-in-session also called on NERC and DISCOs to obey without further delay, the subsisting court order by reviewing downward the current electricity tariff;

7.      CWC-in-session declared that in view of the incalculable damage any further increase in the pump price of petroleum products will cause, marketers should not contemplate this option;

8.      CWC-in-session said in view of the growing difficulties in the economy associated with inflation and devaluation of the Naira, a new minimum wage is not only imperative but urgent as the current minimum wage cannot take the workers to the next bus stop.

Comrade Ayuba Wabba, mni Dr. Peter Ozo Eson

President                General Secretary


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