Signs that the organized labour and the Federal Government are headed for a show down began to manifest when the tripartite committee set up by government to review the minimum wage ended without any categorical statement on the agreed amount that was recommended to the Federal Government for approval and implementation.
From all indications, there was no consensus and there was no deadlock.
Since the Committee submitted its report, it has been claims and counter claims on the amount agreed upon by the Committee.
Labour claimed that it was N30, 000 that was recommended while government claimed the agreed amount was N24, 000. To compound the whole issue, the state governors who are supposed to implement the minimum wage if approved have protested that they can ill-afford either amount since most of them are still battling to pay the present minimum wage of N18, 000.
After what appeared to be an endless wait for Federal Government’s pronouncement by way of approval of the minimum wage, the organized labour has threatened to commence a nationwide industrial action come November 6, 2018. Labour has accused the Federal Government of insensitivity and mischief, insisting that there was a consensus on N30, 000 and that the N24, 000 claim was an afterthought.
In a statement jointly signed by the President of Nigeria Labour Congress, Ayuba Wabba, President of United Labour Congress, Joe Ajaero and President, Trade Union Congress, Bobboi Bala Kaigama, there will be a warning rally on Tuesday to mobilise workers for the November showdown which has been described as the “mother of all strikes”.
According to the statement, “we urge all Nigerians and workers not to be discouraged as it has become obvious that this government does not care either for the workers or for the citizenry”.
The Federal Government saw this coming. Only last week, it made public its new policy of “no work no pay”, which is a signal to labour that for the period that the anticipated strike lasts, workers stand to forfeit their pay.
Many analysts are of the opinion that the minimum wage controversy is a whirl wind that does no body any good.