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Minimum wage: Economic shutdown looms as implementation deadline expires

By Johnbosco Agbakwuru

Abuja—Barring any last minute change, the nation’s economy may witness total shutdown, following the inability of the Federal Government to meet up with the December 31, 2018, deadline by organised labour for the commencement of the implementation process of the N30,000 new minimum wage.

Organised labour had through Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, the Trade Union Congress, TUC, and United Labour Congress, ULC, in a meeting in Lagos, gave the Federal Government December 31, 2018, deadline to forward a bill for the N30,000 new Minimum Wage to the National Assembly, failure of which labour would shutdown the nation’s economy.

NLC

But the federal and state governments have disputed the N30,000, despite the fact that President Muhammadu Buhari has assured that his administration was committed to implementing new minimum wage.

Vanguard investigations revealed that the government was yet to arrive at a figure, hence, has not forwarded any executive bill to the National Assembly.

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However, the organised labour is maintaining its stance to shutdown the economy at the expiration of the ultimatum on December 31, 2018

In a telephone conversation in Abuja, yesterday, General Secretary of NLC, Dr. Peter Ozo-Eson said the position of NLC, TUC and ULC at the Lagos press confrence was clear, as it condemned the proposed setting up of a high powered technical committee after a tripartite committee had completed its assignment with recommendations to mister president

Ozo-Eson insisted that with the expiration of the ultimatum yesterday, labour will immediately begin mobilisation towards a nationwide protest to shutdown the econmy from January 8, 2019

On what steps the organised labour will be taking as the deadline expires, he said, “You will hear from us. All that we have announced is that on the 8th of January, there will be a national rally across the country. What will follow next you will hear from us.

“When we gave the ultimatum, the announcement in Lagos was if by the 31st the bill has not been sent to the National Assembly, we will not be held responsible for the industrial situation that will emerge so we will announce what steps as we go on but clearly through the NLC community after its NEC you will find that we specifically fixed 8th of January for national protest across the country.”

It was also gathered from labour source who pleaded not to be mentioned that government was planning to call a meeting with organised labour before january one, 2019

It was, however, not clear where and when the meeting was to be held as well as who will be presiding over it.

Labour thinks that should government fail to arrest the planned nationwide protest, the suspicion of a turbulent 2019 by some union leaders may just be kick-starting.

Efforts made to reach the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, who is the conciliator in the minimum wage matter, did not yield any results as he was yet to pick the calls to his mobile phone at press time.

 


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