March 9, 2024

Don’t plunge Nigeria into crisis with excessive strikes – ex-Labour leader warns Ajaero

minimum wage

Joe Ajaero, NLC President

…says over N400,000 proposed minimum wage untenable 

By Bashir Bello, Kano

A former National Vice President, Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Comrade Isa Tijjani has on Saturday warned the Joe Ajaero led NLC not to plunge the country into crisis with the union’s excessive strike action.

This was as he said Ajaero is ill-equipped with the way and manner he is handling the affairs of the movement or congress.

Tijjani, who doubles as former Secretary of NLC in Kano State stated this while speaking with newsmen in Kano over the weekend.

He called on the labour leaders to always look at issues critically before embarking on strike actions that can plunge the country into crisis.

In his words: “We are in a critical situation where almost monthly you hear about the strike. We were taught what is the psychology of strike and protest. What do you intend to achieve by a strike. A strike is only a means to an end and never an end to itself. So if you continue this way, you are only injuring the economy that you depend on. Because it is only when there is an economy that you can look for salary and that the government can think of development of the country. But when the economy is in tatters, everybody is in trouble.

“Strike is beginning to lose meaning. In those days, NLC used to be held in high esteem. Then when labour said they were going on strike, people would be jittery and scamper. But now, if you say you are going on strike, who cares?

“So I want Ajaero and his people to always look at the issues before plunging into strikes. Because if you plunge into strike, you are adding salt to injury and creating more problems.

“The way the labour movement is heading these days under the leadership of Joe Ajaero, I am sure if care is not taken, we are going to head to crisis,” he said.

Tijjani continued when he said the N450,000 proposed minimum wage is untenable and not true because as labour leaders they don’t increase salaries by figure but by percentage.

“I am a realist, I want us to look at it from a real point of view. How many Governors have implemented the N30,000 minimum wage as at today? If the money is more than that, how sure are mine that these people will pay? From the grapevine, because I’ve not heard it officially that the minimum wage will be N450,000, that is not true. It is untenable. Because N450,000 multiply by the number of local government workers, and state government workers. A friend of mine and a sitting Deputy Governor (name withheld) told me 45 per cent of their allocation ends in salaries. So if you jack up that minimum wage to N450,000, where are they going to get the money?

“And in any case, in the rudiment of our collective bargaining, we don’t increase salaries by figure but by percentage. If you disregard the issue of percentage and go to figure, then you are creating a problem for yourself.

“Another thing is, we were told during training on collective bargaining and negotiation we undergo that as an employee when you table your demand before your own employer, it is not for you to say that all demands must be met 100 per cent otherwise heaven will fall. That if you do, you are only injuring yourself because it is a two-way thing, give and take. I don’t want a situation where Nigeria will plunge into crisis,” he stated.

The former NLC boss, however, disagreed with President Tinubu that the NLC is an opposition party and that they should stand for election in 2027, explaining that such a statement should not have come from the President.

”Rather than making such comments, the President should call for a colloquium to discuss issues at stake, as a means to address the prevailing situations,” Tijjani maintained.