Strike not an option, ll exacerbate hardship ,LP tells labour

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The Labour Party (LP) in Nigeria has urged workers’ unions to  re-negotiate with the government  on new minimum wage rather than embarking on industrial action.

The National Publicity Secretary of the Labour Party, Mr Obiora Ifoh, made the plea in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Lagos.

He was reacting to the strike declared nationwide strike by the organised labour over its demand for a new minimum wage .

Ifoh said that strike was not an option because it would cause more hardship and sufferings.

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“Our immediate reaction is that the organised labour should not throw Nigerians into more hardship.

“Nigerians are already grappling with a lot of challenges and we do not need to exacerbate the situation.

“I think the demand for N494,000 minimum wage is unrealistic. It is really unrealistic.

“It is a figure that cannot be sustained because it will imply that Nigeria will take all that money it has to pay the civil servants,” Ifoh said.

Ifoh said that the labour union should continue to engage  the Federal Government on a figure that would be acceptable to both parties.

“Negotiation should continue until they get something better.

“Asking Nigerian workers to stay at home will affect everything ,including the cost of living and Nigerians cannot afford that now.

“Negotiation is not a one-off thing.

“If the Federal Government is not willing to go above N60,000 minimum wage , I think that the Organised Labour should work with what is available while it continues to negotiate.

“We know this government has not gotten it right. It is still trying to test the waters,” the LP spokesman said.

He said that the party would not want any action  that could further cause hardship.

NAN reports that despite earlier pleas by the Federal Government for consideration, the organised labour on Monday commenced an indefinite strike  to push for a new national minimum wage for workers.

The industrial action followed a series of unsuccessful negotiations involving both the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) and  government’s  representatives .

Representatives of labour had  on May 28 walked out of the Tripartite Committee meeting on minimum wage after the government increased its offer from N57,000 to N60,000.

Recall that the government and the Organised Private Sector  had initially proposed ₦48,000, then  ₦54,000 and N57,000, which were all rejected by  labour.

The organised labour had also proposed  ₦615,000 as new minimum wage, but later came down to  ₦497,000 and then to ₦494,000, to reflect the current rising cost of living. (NAN)

By Adeyemi Adeleye

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