Minimum wage: Act fast to avoid looming strike – Nigerians beg Tripartite Committee

Minimum wage: Act fast to avoid looming strike – Nigerians beg Tripartite Committee

Some Nigerians on Monday called on the Tripartite Committee on the National Minimum Wage to reach an agreement fast to avoid the resumption of labour strike.

They spoke in interviews with NAN on Monday in Lagos.

An activist, Mr Tunde Salman, said that the parties should avoid the resumption of the strike in the interest of the masses.

He urged both governments and labour unions to be considerate in the offer and demand, respectively.

Salman is the team lead and convener of the Good Governance Team, a civil society organisation.

“I will implore all actors, especially the government side at the national, state and local government levels, to be honest and sincere in their engagements with trade unions,” he said.

A media professional, Mr Lekan Otufodunrin, also urged the governments and labour unions to find ways to reach an agreement quickly to avert further strikes.

Otufodunrin, the Executive Director of Media Career Development Network, said that resuming the strike would be detrimental to the country as a whole.

“Another strike, like the last one, when even the national grid was switched off, is not good for the country. Things are really tough, but the government cannot agree to pay what it cannot pay, considering that, at present, some state governments are not paying the present minimum wage,” he said.

Another activist, Mr Omokhuale Ehi, said that the cost of living was high, and there was a need for a reasonable increase in the minimum wage.

Ehi, the Lagos State Chairman of the Civil Liberty Organisation, called for a reduction in the cost of governance and improvements in the economy to make any minimum wage beneficial.

“As long as inflation remains uncontrolled, we keep refining most of our crude oil outside the country, tariffs keep increasing, local production is not encouraged, and no minimum wage will be favourable.

“Also, as long as insecurity continues to truncate farming activities, inflation will always thrive and the minimum wage will not be able to cushion it,” Ehi said.

A trader, Mrs Irene Oghenekaro, said that strikes brought pain to the people.

“I am not in support of the strike; the parties should rather discuss in a way that will favour everyone,” she said.

Another trader, Mr Rufus Ikeh, said that increasing the minimum wage was necessary to enable workers to cope with current economic realities.

“If workers earn well, they will buy goods from us. We want our economy to be better; the government should create favourable policies,” Ikeh said.

NAN reports that organised labour embarked on an indefinite strike on June 3 over the inclusiveness of negotiations on a new minimum wage.

The organised labour, however, suspended the strike on June 4, for five days, following the intervention of the Federal Government, to allow for further negotiations.

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