No new minimum wage, no vote, NLC tells governors

The Nigerian workers under the umbrella of Nigeria Labour Congress has threatened to vote out any state governor or party who failed to implement the newly proposed N30,000 minimum wage for workers in the state.

The leadership of the union also accused the state governors of conspiring against the implementation of the new minimum wage, and urged members to brace up in their commitment to achieve the new minimum wage, which, according to them, was long overdue.

The National President of NLC, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, who made this assertions during a protest at the Anambra state government house, Awka, by the state workers, reminded workers that it was through struggle and solidarity that victory is assured.  

Wabba, represented by the Head of Department, International Relations and Division of Officer to National Assembly, Comrade Uchenna Ekwem, said the new minimum wage was justifiable with view of the economic situation in the country.

According to him, “People are saying that the implementation of the new minimum will cause inflation in the country but it is a blatant lie because even without the increment in salaries, inflation rate had double-risen.   

“We cannot take the blackmail that when you increase the salary, inflation will rise. This has revealed the naivety of Nigerian society and that is why I say that workers who are not here are rising against us.

“The ability to pay the new minimum wage is a choice because no nation has enough money to deal with all their problems. This is why we must use scale of preference. Therefore, we want to get the governors commitment that they would comply”.

The NLC boss warned workers of being overly partisan, while assuring them of the support of the national body, even as he described the absented workers as saboteur with questionable commitment.

He faulted governors who are against the implementation of the new minimum wage for the reason of liquidity, calling them to cut their rate of spending and commit themselves to the welfare of Nigerian workers.

“The tripartite negotiation committee made up of the government, organised labour and private sector employers have agreed that N30,000 new minimum wage be paid. Government should emulate private sectors and implement the new minimum wage without further delay.

“The governors should personally communicate their position and workers should remain steadfast and committed. We reiterate our directive to vote out any leader/party that refuse to pay.

“Let the government stop using the threat of mass sack or threat of ‘no work, no pay’ because are ready to use the strategy ‘no pay, no pay’ to counter it”, he stated.

In a remark, the NLC state chairman, Comrade Jerry Nnubia said during the protest and mobilisation on the actualisation of the new minimum wage that freedom comes by struggle, demanding that workers be paid N30,000 as the new national minimum wage. 

Nnubia urged state governors to cue into the implementation of the new minimum wage after its enactment by the National Assembly, while reminding them that the workers were willing to exercise their franchise at the polling unit, stressing that governors who fail to comply would be voted out.

Receiving the protesting workers at the state government house in Awka, the governor, Chief Willie Obiano, represented by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Prof. Solo Chukwulobelu, maintained that the state governor was workers friendly, assuring of his commitment to follow suit whatever that is agreed.

Obiano, who said that he was willing to adjust workers salaries, however, did not openly say that he would be implementing the new minimum wage.

He reminded the aggrieved union members that Anambra was not part of oil producing state in the country, and added that as a law abiding governor, he is ready to ready to comply if the position is made know to them.

The situation is not different in Asaba as the Delta State chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) protested against Governor Ifeanyi Okowa for not to have implemented the N30,000 minimum wage saying he should pay and secure his reelection.

The protesting workers carried placcards of various inscriptions, including “Negotiation is over, implement the new minimum wage”, “New minimum is a condition for vote”, “New minimum wage is equal to PVC”, “Enough of thus Slavery”, “Pay N30,000 or loss reelection” etc said they have resolved to take their destiny in their hands.

The state chairman, Comrade Jonathan Jemiriyigbe, supported by the Vice President of ULC, Comrade Ogbaloi Kelly, in Asaba appealed to Governor not to renege on his promise to pay the N30,000 as soon as possible as it will  soon be implemented by the Federal Government.

According to him, “Any Governor that vote for N30,000 minimum wage will be voted for during the general elections. Labour will only canvass and mull support for a workers’ friendly candidate.  Workers will not vote for any presidential or governorship candidate that fails to implement the new minimum wage.”

The protesters also warned Federal Government and the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, to stop playing pranks with the welfare of workers in the country.

Addressing the workers at the Government House’s gate in Asaba, Governor Okowa, represented by his Chief of Staff, Chief Tam Brisibe, flanked by the Special Adviser on Labour and Servicom, Comrade Mike Okeme, said it will be implemented in the state immediately the Federal Government agrees to pay.

Chief Brisibe said, “Governor is workers’ friendly. He keeps to his promise. This protest is not against us, it is for us to share in your pains for better welfare package. As soon as the Federal Government agrees and signs it into law, Delta state will implement it”.

Also, the Organized labour in Bayelsa State joined their counterparts across the country in a peaceful protest against the delay in the implement of the new minimum wage.

The workers who were led by a representative of the NLC, Comarde Ben Nnebue and the state chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, John Ndiomu, marched through the Mbiama/Yenagoa road singing solidarity songs before stopping at the Government House gate, where they were received by the Chief of Staff to the Governor, Mr Talford Ongolo.

Presenting the protest letter to Mr Ongolo, who represented the state government, state NLC chairman, John Ndiomu, called on the state government to make a commitment to the speedy implementation of new minimum wage, stressing that the State Governor had already made a verbal commitment to that effect.

He said: “The new minimum wage will largely determine the electoral preference of Nigerian voters in 2019 general elections.

Nigerian workers as voters will indeed take their eventful fate to the polling stations and indicate in the ballot their views in the fateful implementation of the new national minimum wage.

“Workers and their families will cause friends and allies not to vote for any candidate in the forth coming elections who hesitate or refused to commit to the new national minimum wage.”

Chief of Staff to the Bayelsa State Government, Mr Ongolo, who received the protest letter on behalf of the State Governor, said the state government will support any decision reached whenever the issue of the national minimum  wage has been sorted out and commended the workers for conducting themselves peacefully.

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