By Victor Young
To ensure full implementation of the N30,000 new national minimum wage, an Ibadan based legal practitioner and human rights activist, Mr Femi Aborishade, has advised organized labour to use “no pay no work”, to deal recalcitrant state governor or private employer that refuses to pay the new wage.
Speaking to Vanguard, the former lecturer at Ibadan Polytechnics, Oyo State , said “The common refrain by employers, including governments and the private sector employers when workers are on strike is “no work no pay”. Therefore, nonpayment of the minimum wage and/or the consequential increases in pay for levels 7 above should be met with “no pay, no work”.
“In other words, nonpayment should be confronted with solid strike, not only in the non-paying state, but indeed, on a national scale, to compel the recalcitrant states to pay in accordance with the Minimum Wage Act and the consequential agreement between Organised Labour on the one hand, state governments, federal government and the private sector employers on the other.
“In the event of nonpayment of the minimum wage, labour should call pre-strike peaceful mass meetings and rallies at individual local factory levels, local government levels, state levels, and lastly, a one-day nationwide mass meetings everywhere in the country, before embarking on the nationwide strike. The purpose of the pre-strike mass meetings at local levels is collective education on the imperative of insisting on the payment of the minimum wage. The N30,000 minimum wage represents only 66% increase in minimum wage. Not only this, the There are now penalties for withdrawal and for making bank deposits. There is a 50 naira tax for every PoS transaction. There are threats of restoration of toll gates that were removed in the past to justify fuel price increases then. Federal Government has introduced other punitive measures on income of ordinary people.
“Whereas the Federal and state Governments have failed to commence the payment of minimum wage, a huge chunk of 1.2% of the 2020 budget or N125billion is allocated to the National Assembly alone. This figure is higher than N112billion allocated for Universal Basic Education (UBE). This abnormality does not take into reckoning the fact that not less than 14million children of school age are out of school due to poverty. Indeed, the details of the salaries and allowances, including running costs of the Executive Arm of Government are shrouded in secrecy.
“Nonpayment of minimum wage and consequential increases in the salaries of levels 7 and above should be resisted by the battle cry of “no pay, no work”. Strike is the last resort and the only effective language employers, characteristically, understand, not only in Nigeria, but indeed, internationally. Only the workers, through mass and peaceful strike actions, can save themselves from physical extinction as a result of the debilitating negative effects of anti-ordinary people and anti working people’s government policies.”