With five days left before its deadline for commencement of a nationwide strike, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has begun mobilisation of all its affiliate unions, to ensure effective implementation of the industrial action.
The NLC and its partner, the Trade Union Congress (TUC), are protesting the resistance of the federal, state and local governments to the adoption of N30,000 as the new minimum wage in the country.
They have warned that unless the figure was accepted by the government, they would order an indefinite nationwide strike from Monday.
Consequently, the NLC at the end of its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held in Abuja Wednesday, directed all affiliate unions, state councils, civil society allies and the informal sector to commence immediate mobilisation of their members.
A communiqué signed by the NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, and General Secretary, Peter Essom, said there would be joint organ meetings of the Central Working Committees (CWCs) of all the labour centres on November 2, in final preparations for a full engagement with the federal government on the national minimum wage.
It read: “NEC-in-session directed all affiliate unions, state councils, civil society allies, the informal sector and other friends of workers and lovers of democracy to commence immediate mobilization of their members;
“The NEC advised Nigerians to start stocking food and other necessities of life as workers will ensure a total shutdown of the country”.
Similarly the NLC condemned the decision of the federal government to clamp down on labour via what it described as “selective and erroneous invocation of the ‘no work, no pay” clause in the Trade Disputes Act,” noting that the right to strike is both a human and trade union right and cannot be abridged.
It urged workers to disregard government’s directive on “no work, no pay” because workers were already being impoverished and being owed arrears of salaries.
“The right to strike is both a human and trade union right and cannot be abridged as it is what distinguishes a worker from a slave.
“There is nothing new about this clause as it has been in our statutes for over 40 years.
“The NEC also demanded that the government uphold the principles of the rule of law, fairness, equity and justice by invoking “no pay, no work.
“The NEC, accordingly, resolved that the threat of “no work, no pay” will not deter it from embarking on strike when necessary, as it has always complied with legal requirements precedent and will always comply with those requirements,” he added.