FG. Clamp down On Non-State Actors As Organised Labour  Mobilises Workers  For Indefinite Strike Over Minimum Wage

By  Suleiman Umaru

 President Bola Tinubu, who incidentally was a former governor of Lagos, described as the most viable state in Nigeria, moves to clamp down on the non-state actors making Nigerian Communities unsafe, amidst threat by Organised Labour to mobilize workers on Monday, June 3, 2024, on indefinite strike action to protest the non-fulfilment of the implementation of the agreement on the new minimum wage with the Federal government.

The Nigerian President’s resolve ‘’to crush the violent non-state actors’’, may have been strengthened by   the recent  killing of five soldiers at Obikabia Junction, Ogbor Hill, in Abia by the Indigenous People Of Biafra, IPOB, one of the  non-state actors, which had engineered a 3-day ‘’ Sit at Home’’, in the south east region   for the  actualization of the Biaafra nation between Wednesday, May 29, 2024 and Friday, May 31, 2024, , but labour has given its words  to go ahead with the nationwide  strike, notwithstanding the tension in the country.

 The threat by Organised Labour to embark on the indefiniete  strike  may have encouraged  Senator   bala Mohammed, a Chieftain of  the Opposition People’s Democratic Party, PDP, and governor of Bauchi state, to give a word of advice to the  Leadership of the Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, and Trade Union Cngress, TU which are , championing the strike’’ to shelve the plan as the plan  which he had said  will further ‘’ hurt  the  country’s economy still struggling  for survival.

Sen.Mohammed: Governor of Bauchi state urges Organised Labour To Shelve planned strike

The Bauchi state governor, who could not hide his feelings may have spoken the mind of other state governors when he stated that the planned Labour strike if not shelved, will ‘’plunge the nation into a state of extreme hardship’’.  The governor was emphatic that the strike will further cripple the economy which Mumammad Sanusi, a former governor of Central Bank of Nigeriia, CBN, and reinstalled Emir of Kano, had been battered by former President Muhammdu Buhari’s Administration  eight years   mismanagement of the  country’s resources.  The former CBN, governor had said that if  the Organised Labour    goes  ahead in causing stoppage of work throughout the country , it will cause more pains to the  workers sand Nigerians in general.

He had urged  the Organised Labour  to take another look their demand  within the threshold of affordability  at the state and Local government levels , noting that even the current minimum wage of N30,00.00 per month, some of the state governors are still finding it to pay , let alone increasing it something higher.

Segun Ajayi-  Kadir, Director General, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, MAN,  may have joined the Bauchi state governor to appeal to the Labour Leaders  to reconsider their decision of embarking on the indefinite strike  over non-implementation of the minimum wage  and return back to the tripartite Committee  to continue the round table discussion on  the new minimum wage  to reach a  consensus.

On Friday, May 31, 2024,  the aggrieved Labour Representatives at the Tripartite Committee on Minimum Wage , had walked out of that meeting  when it because obvious to them that the government Representatives at the Committee were acting out a script to reject whatever proposal that may be put forward  by the Organised Labour .

The Organised Labour Representatives at the Tripartite Committee on the Minimum Wage were said to have recommended that the sum of N497,000.00  should be the new Minimum but the government Representatives  , believed to e acting out a script  had said that the Federal  government  will pay  N60,000.00 as the new Minimum Wage, meaning that the state governments should go ahead  and negotiate with their workers and agree o what they could pay.

Labour had described  the N60,000.00 mminimum  monthly wage bill proposed by the government a Laughable  as it could not even buy a 50 Kg. bag of  local or foreign  par boiled rice, meaning that the Nigerian worker  would remain the poverty  line.

   Recall that in taking the decision to embark on the indefinite strike over the new national Minimum Wage which had remained a ding dung affair between the two parties,  Labour on three different occasions  had  rejected   three different offers  from the Nigerian Government.

Labour declares indefinite strike over new minimum wage

The worry of the Nigerian Government officials at the Tripartite Committee on the new Minimum Wage was that if they could buy into the Labour recommendations of a monthly N497,000.00 salary, it would  cumulatively  amount  to the sum of N9.5 trn  bill, which the Federal Government would be expected to cough out to settle the workers’ bill on a yearly basis, which the current state of the nation’s economy cannot accommodate .

It was not surprising why Kadir, the MAN, Director General, was said to have persuaded the aggrieved Labour Leaders   to come back to Tripartite Committee Negotiating table  in the interest of saving the nation’s struggling  economy’’.

President Tinubu, may have known that allowing the Organised Labobour to emark on the indefinite strike would be a bad advertisement to his Administration that he is doing everything within his powers to stop it.  He was said to have engaged the services of Senator Adams Oshiomhole, a Labour activist and former governor of Edo state to reach out to the Labobour Leaders who are hell bent on mobilising the workers for the indefinite strike to re consider their decision but that was how far he could go.

Recall that when the Organised Labour strike over the new  Minimum Wage was muted late 2023,   Sen. Oshiomhole , who had several  occasions mobilized the workers to protest  against the  Federal Government unpopular policies as the then  President of NLC, President, may  not have seen any rationale for Labour to  embark on Strike.  

He was said to have made it clear to the  Labour Leaders in their private talks  that embarking on strike  was a clear indication that the Unions  are not ‘’prioritizing   on the interest of the Nigerian workers’’.   The former Edo state governor may not have changed on his world view striking Labour unions as he is totally against strike. Whether Chris Ajaero, President,NLC, and other Labour Leaders will shelve the planned  strike  over the new Minimum Wage remain to be seen.

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