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Breaking News NLC Suspends Strike

The Nigeria Labour Congress has suspended its ongoing nationwide strike following promises by the Federal Government to reconvene the tripartite committee on national minimum wage on October 4.

The suspension of the warning strike takes effect from today. Announcing the decision in Abuja on Sunday, the NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, stated that the labour action was suspended to enable the tripartite committee to hold its crucial meeting and conclude its work.

Prior to the announcement of the suspension of the NLC ,The strike had commenced last Thursday after the expiration of a 14-day ultimatum to the Federal Government to announce its figure, reconvene the meeting of the 30- man Technical Committee on the issue and ensure the completion of its work ahead of the announcement of a new minimum wage for Nigerian workers.

The current N18,000 minimum wage expired in 2015. we gathered that the planned suspension of the strike, that has paralyzed critical sectors of the economy, including the down stream sector of the oil industry, where loading and distribution of petroleum products have been stopped, and maritime services, is a fall out of a meeting between labour leaders and top government officials that lasted several hours on Friday. According to a source, chief among other reasons for the planned suspension of the strike is the reconvening of the meeting of the Tripartite Committee on the minimum wage on Thursday which the Organised Labour had claimed was adjourned sine die by government.

Labour leaders have been assured that the meeting will not only reconvene, the Federal Government is also expected to present its figure to the meeting on Thursday. The refusal of the Federal Government to present its figure to the committee, whereas other social partners had presented theirs, stalled the conclusion of the assignment of the committee. While the private sector employers, some state governments and the Organised Labour have all made presentations on their figures for a new national minimum wage, the Federal Government, which ought to be the driving force as a result of labour issues being on the exclusive legislative list, is yet to present its figure for the committee to work with alongside other presentations to arrive at a new national minimum wage.

One of the labour leaders, who spoke to news men in confidence, yesterday, however, warned that “if government fails to present its figure, in the Thursday meeting expected to dovetail into Friday, the Organised Labour will have no choice than to resume a more devastating nationwide strike next week.” Meanwhile, the National Labour Congress (NLC) said, yesterday, that the strike could be suspended if the Federal Government yielded to workers’ demand. Speaking when the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, paid a visit to the Labour House in Abuja to plead for the suspension of the strike, the National President of the NLC, Ayuba Wabba, said government could facilitate immediate suspension of the strike by doing the needful.

According to Wabba, after the meeting with the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, at the State House on Thursday, the NLC National Executive Council, NEC, met and communicated government’s position to all the labour organs. But the General Secretary of the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions, NASU, an affiliate of the NLC, Peters Adeyemi, told Sunday Vanguard after the union’s National Executive Council, NEC, meeting in Abuja that there was no will from government to approve a new minimum wage. Adeyemi, who is a member of the Minimum Wage

Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) is an umbrella organization for trade unions in Nigeria. It was founded in 1978 following a merger of four different organisations: Nigeria Trade Union Congress (NTUC), Labour Unity Front (LUF), United Labour Congress (ULC) and Nigeria Workers Council (NWC). The numerous affiliated unions were restructured into 42 industrial unions. Its founding President was Wahab Goodluck.

During its history, conflicts with the military regime twice led to the dissolution of the NLC’s national organs, the first in 1988 under the military regime of General Ibrahim Babangida and the second in 1994, under the regime of General Sani Abacha. Under Nigeria’s military governments, labour leaders were frequently arrested and union meetings disrupted. Following democratic reforms in the country, some of the anti-union regulations were abolished in January 1999. The same month Adams Oshiomhole was elected President of the reformed organisation.

Today, the NLC has 29 affiliated unions. In total, they gather around 4 million members, according to their own figures. This makes the NLC one of the largest trade union organisations in Africa.

Recently conflict between the government and the NLC has escalated due to the organisation’s opposition to higher fuel prices. The price increases are the result of decisions by the Olusegun Obasanjo government to dramatically reduce subsidies and to deregulate the purchase and sale of fuel. The NLC has led several general strikes protesting the government’s fuel price policy.

In September 2004, the NLC gave the federal government an ultimatum to reverse the decision to reintroduce the controversial fuel tax or face a nationwide protest strike. The strike threat was made despite the fact that a Federal High Court judgement in an earlier dispute had declared the organisation lacking legal power to call a general strike over government policies.

Following the announcement of the strike plans, the NLC claims President Adams Oshiomhole was arrested October 9, 2004 at a protest at Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport. According to the organisation, Oshiomhole was “abducted by a team of operatives of the State Security Services (SSS) numbering over fifteen, who overpowered him, wrestled him to the ground and bundled him into a standby Peugeot 504 station wagon, which bore no licence plates.” The State Security Services called the claim “sensational and inaccurate reporting”, saying that the NLC president had a misunderstanding with field operatives, but that the matter was soon resolved. A presidential spokesperson claimed that Oshiomhole was only invited for a “chat” at the airport, no arrest having taken place.

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Breaking News NLC Suspends Strike

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