Labour unions call off general strike after signing deal with the government on new minimum wage

NIGERIA'S labour unions have called off their planned nationwide general strike that was due to start today after signing an agreement with the government yesterday that will introduce a new minimum wage.


As of yesterday, organised labour had been planning to call a general strike today as the November 6 deadline given to ministers to implement the new N30,000 ($62) a month minimum wage was not met. Over recent months, the government and the trade unions have been negotiating a minimum wage and the two sides have agreed to increase the amount to N30,000 from the current N18,000 a month.


According to the unions, the Tripartite Committee on the New National Minimum Wage had concluded its negotiations and agreed on N30, 000 following an appeal made by Organisation Private Sector (OPS) as to what its members could afford. However, last week, he Nigerian Governors Forum met in Abuja and said it could only afford a minimum wage of N22,500, which the labour unions dismissed as unacceptable.


As a result of the impasse, a nationwide strike was inevitable but this morning, the unions called it off, with Ayuba Wabba, the chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) saying industrial action had been suspended after a meeting of the tripartite committee. He added that the decision to suspend the action was reached after agreements were reached and documents signed.


Mr Wabba said: “Having reached this position and agreements signed, the proposed strike action is hereby suspended."


He, however, refused to disclose the figure of the new minimum wage arrived at by the committee, pointing out that it would only be made public after the committee’s report was presented to President Muhammadu Buhari later today. Mr Wabba thanked all their tripartite partners for their understanding while particularly appreciating the roles of the private sector.


Amma Pepple, the chairman of the committee, added: “I am happy to report to you that we have concluded our assignment and we will submit our report to the president by 4.15pm on Tuesday. We will reveal the figure at the presentation."


Boss Mustapha, the secretary to the government of the federation also thanked members of the committee for doing a wonderful job. He described the process as a long journey.