Protest commence, strike looming as meeting with FG meets deadlock
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The second meeting between FG and Nigeria Labour Congress schedule for today has been reschedule till another time, although date not mentioned. This will make it the second time in three days, such meeting has been reschedule but the nationwide protest holds.
Recall that the The NLC, had, late in December 2018, scheduled a protest rally was after its meeting to press home its demand for an executive draft bill on the N30,000 minimum wage to be transmitted by the presidency to the National Assembly.
However, an all-inclusive meeting between the two parties held on Friday, and Monday was chosen as a new date to follow up discussions. But after the Monday meeting which ended midnight, the NLC president, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, insisted that the protest will hold as its motive it was said was not embark on strike, but to commit all parties to the minimum wage issue.
“We have had some useful discussion and we have consulted but we agreed to meet by 1pm tomorrow to see if we can finish the processes. The protest is about implementation so it has no link. What we are trying to do is how to see the bill transmitted to the National Assembly. The protest is about how to get all parties committed to the issue of minimum wage, it is different from how we get this bill transmitted with timeline to the national assembly” said.
Addressing journalists after the meeting, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, who led the Federal Government delegation to the meeting, said that the FG was making effort to speed up the process of transmitting the bill despite the challenge of time.
“We have made progress and tomorrow (Tuesday), we will know the definite date when the bill will be transmitted to the National Assembly. It has been difficult to arrive at a date because there are processes to follow on the bill. We have to go to the Federal Executive Council with a council memo on the bill. After that, we will go to the National Economic Council and the Council of State. We can control the Federal Executive Council date, the same with NEC, but for the National Council of State, the President has to look at his own timetable and we inform past heads of state and justice of the federation.
“This can take two weeks but we are trying to see if we can accommodate all these meetings by next week because we cannot do Council of State meeting again this week. Immediately after that meeting (Council of State), we will transmit,” Ngige said.
The NLC had in a release on Monday through its General Secretary, Dr Peter Ozo-Eson, earlier before the meeting clarified issues on the nationwide protest, saying, the union would stage a protest nationwide on Tuesday (today) and not that strike would begin. This, according to him was to correct a wrong notion and a false impression being circulated that NLC would begin strike on Tuesday.
The NLC statement reads, “It has come to our attention that some section of the news media has largely misrepresented our action plan in reaction to the delay in transmitting the recommendations of the Tripartite Committee on a new National Minimum Wage to the National Assembly by President Mohammadu Buhari.
“It should be recalled that the National Executive Council of NLC met on December 17 last year and directed that we hold nationwide mobilization of workers and our allies if by December 31, 2018 the bill on the National Minimum Wage has yet to be sent to the National Assembly to be passed as an Act of Parliament. We immediately announced then that on Tuesday, January 8, 2019, there will be a nationwide mass mobilization and protests simultaneously across all states in Nigeria. This does not translate to a strike.
“Already, all our state councils, affiliate unions and allies in other pro-people mass organizations now popularly referred to as Civil Society Organizations have been fully informed and mobilized to ensure the success of tomorrow’s mass protests in all the states and the Federal Capital Territory.”
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