BY VICTOR AHIUMA-YOUNG
LAGOS — LABOUR leaders from all the 36 states of the Federation including Abuja and in all sectors of the nation’s economy are today meeting in Abuja to fix a date for the commencement of a nationwide strike to force President Goodluck Jonathan to sign the N18,000 new minimum wage before the April polls.
This came as President Jonathan is scheduled to meet with labour leaders tomorrow at the State House to discuss the minimum wage quagmire and other labour related issues.
Under the umbrella of the Central Working Committee, CWC, of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, the labour leaders had been summoned to take decisive and definite stance on the issue as there are feelers that governors opposed to the new wage increase are putting pressure on President Jonathan not to assent to the pay rise bill until after the general elections.
There are growing apprehensions that anti-new minimum wage governors who do not want to pay the new wage and some Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, bigwigs may have convinced the President to keep the Bill, that was passed into law by the Senate on February 23, and House of Representatives on March 2, 2011 in abeyance till after next month’s polls.
Lamenting the frustration of labour over President Jonathan’s refusal to sign the Bill into law, President of NLC, Comrade Abdulwaheed Omar, said labour had given President Jonathan up till today to assent to the bill or face workers’ final wrath and the disruption of the April polls.
According to him,“we have been pursuing this matter with all vigour and we are determined based on the mandate given to us by Nigerian workers, that we will pursue it to its logical conclusion. We are aware of the disposition of Mr. President because he has pledged time without number that he would be ready to sign the bill into law. I will recall his letter to National Assembly urging it to give it an accelerated hearing and passage and on his part will be ready to sign it into law.”
Labour meets with Jonathan
Meanwhile, Vanguard gathered that President Jonathan has invited leaders of NLC for a meeting tomorrow to discuss, among other things, the N18,000 new minimum wage.
An official of Congress, who spoke to Vanguard on condition of anonymity, said the President has “invited us for a meeting in the Villa on Tuesday afternoon. There is no doubt that the issue of the N18,000 new minimum wage will top the agenda.”