The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), after a joint National Executive Council (NEC) meeting in Abuja on Monday evening, reiterated the readiness of workers to carry out a wide range of industrial action if the Federal Government fails to conclude  the new minimum wage negotiations and provide a living for the country’s workers by May 31.

Labour also said it will be a huge mistake for the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), to think that workers have gone to sleep after protesting and demanding for the reverse of the recently hiked electricity tariff.

The labour centres said they will keep to their promise of going on an industrial action to drive their demands on the issue of electricity tariff without further notice.

They, therefore, directed all the affiliate unions of the two centres to commence mobilisation for industrial action, and wait for further directive

Contained in a communique jointly signed by NLC and TUC presidents,  Joe Ajaero and  Festus Osifo respectively, the NEC-in-session acknowledged that the centres will continue meeting with the government and organised private sector representatives at the new minimum wage negotiations, but will not be blamed for embarking on a fresh industrial action should the government fail to wrap up the negotiations and give workers a living wage.

The NEC  accused  government of employing delay tactics in the new minimum negotiation process.

The statement reads in part: “The NEC of  NLC and  the  TUC convened today in an emergency meeting in response to the pressing national issues affecting Nigerian workers on  the recent hike in electricity tariff, the ongoing negotiation of a new national minimum wage with the Federal Government and the persisting non-compliance with the 2019 National Minimum wage Act by some state governments

“NEC-in-session observed as follows: Whereas the NLC and TUC had embarked on a  nationwide picketing of all NERC offices and DISCOs in protest of the illegal hike in electricity tariff while demanding a reversal from NERC and the Federal Government without the desired result;

“Whereas the Federal Government’s refusal to comply with the dictates of the 2019 National Minimum Wage Act in constituting the Tripartite National Minimum Wage Negotiating Committee later than six months to the expiration of the existing one; the deliberate delays in good faith negotiations which has compelled the NLC and TUC to give the Federal Government until the last day of  May to complete everything about the new National Minimum Wage fixing process;

“Whereas the Federal Government has not shown any serious sign of ensuring that the New National Minimum Wage process is concluded accordingly; Whereas some state governments are still refusing to pay the N30,000  National Minimum Wage as stipulated in the 2019 National Minimum Wage Act; After thorough deliberations and considerations of these current realities as it affects Nigerian workers and masses, the NEC-in-session of both centres resolved as follows:

“Electricity tariff hike: The NEC once again, condemns the unilateral increase in electricity tariff by the authorities. This action, taken without due consideration for the economic hardships faced by the masses and the provisions of the law, is deemed unjust and burdensome. The NEC reaffirms its demands for an immediate reversal of the tariff hike and the vexatious apartheid categorisation into bands to alleviate the suffering of Nigerian workers and citizens and gives  NERC and the Federal Government until the last day of May to meet these demands.

“Negotiation of New National Minimum Wage: The NEC acknowledges the ongoing negotiations between the NLC/TUC, the Organised Private Sector (OPS) and the Federal Government regarding the new national minimum wage. While appreciating the efforts made thus far, the NEC  stresses  the urgency of reaching a fair and equitable agreement that reflects the true value of Nigerian workers’ contributions to the nation’s development and the current crisis of survival facing Nigerians as a result of government’s policies. The NEC affirms its commitment to ensuring that the interests and welfare of workers are adequately protected in the negotiation process

“The NEC-in-session reiterates the ultimatum issued by the NLC and TUC to the Federal Government, which expires on the last day of this month. It  stresses the non-negotiable nature of the demands put forth by Nigerian workers and urges the government to prioritise the resolution of these issues in the best interest of industrial peace

“NEC-in-session further directed all state councils whose state governments are yet to fully implement the N30,000 National Minimum Wage and its consequential adjustments to issue immediately a joint two-week ultimatum to the culpable state governments to avert industrial action.

“Consequently, the NEC-in-session accordingly reaffirms the NLC and TUC joint ultimatum earlier issued to the Anambra State government by its Anambra State councils. It, therefore, directed all affiliates and workers in the state council to mobilise their members to ensure a successful action in the event the state government fails to meet the demands of workers by Thursday,  May 23

“In the event that the government fails to meet the demands outlined within the stipulated time frame, the NEC authorises the leadership of  NLC and TUC to take appropriate actions, including, but not limited to the mobilisation of workers for peaceful protests and industrial actions, to press home these demands for social justice and workers’ rights

“NEC  calls on all affiliate unions, and workers, including civil society organisations  (CSOs)  across Nigeria to remain united and steadfast in solidarity during this critical period

“The NECs – in – session finally affirms its commitment to championing the cause of Nigerian workers and ensuring that their rights and interests are upheld at all times.”