The Nigeria Labour Congress has expressed concern over rising cases of kidnapping, Boko Haram attacks, communal clashes and general national insecurity, saying it will convene a National Security Summit and hold national rallies over the challenge.
The NLC also called for immediate implementation of the new minimum wage, saying that the Federal Government could no longer hide under negotiations with labour to deny workers the opportunity to enjoy the new salary structure.
These were parts of the communiqué of the union which was released at the end of its National Executive Council meeting in Kano.
The communiqué was signed by the NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, and its outgoing General Secretary, Dr Peter Ozo-Eson.
The union said that it would convene a National Security Summit and hold national rally over insecurity across the country.
The communiqué added, “NEC noted that there has been an increase in the wave of insecurity in Nigeria especially as marked by resurgence in kidnapping for ransom, armed robbery, communal clashes and Boko Haram attacks.
“NEC expressed alarm at the recent confessions of a recently arrested bandit who disclosed that helicopters dropped weapons for criminals thus suggesting possible collusion between criminal elements and big-time financiers of criminality.
“Having considered the deleterious impact of insecurity on the lives of citizens and socio-economic conditions in Nigeria, NEC resolved that the NLC would convene a National Security Summit to dispassionately engage the current challenge of insecurity in Nigeria and proffer sustainable solutions.
“Prior to the proposed National Security Summit, NEC resolved that the NLC would hold rallies across Nigeria to sensitise government and citizens to the need to urgently arrest the current drift in security.”
NLC rejects delay, demands urgent minimum wage payment
On the implementation of the new national minimum wage, both the government and labour had been negotiating consequential increase in workers’ salaries as a result of the increase in minimum wage from N18,000 to N30,000 in May 2019 with no agreement reached.
The NLC expressed dismay over the continued delay by the Federal Government and other tiers of government to implement the new national minimum wage.
The NLC communiqué stated, “NEC emphatically posited that the government can no longer hide under protracted negotiations with workers in the public sector for consequential salary adjustment based on the new national minimum wage to delay the implementation of the new national minimum wage.
“After very vigorous deliberations on the need to immediately implement the national minimum wage, NEC insisted that the payment of the new national minimum wage should commence immediately, effective from the day the New National Minimum Wage Bill was signed into law by Mr President.”
Recall that the meeting of the Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council and representatives of the Federal Government held on Friday was deadlocked. The meeting will reconvene for negotiations on September 4.
The negotiators adjourned to the new date to allow President Buhari to wade into the disagreement of relativity and consequential adjustments on the new minimum wage.
The meeting, which held in Abuja, had the permanent secretaries of finance and labour ministries, as well as representative of the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission in attendance.
One of the Labour leaders in the negotiations, Mr Lawrence Amaechi, told NAN that both parties had agreed to consider their stance and allow the President to decide on the issue.
“Both parties are holding on to their different positions on the relativity/consequential adjustment of salaries. We shall submit that stance to Mr President to enable him to wade into the matter.
“We have, however, adjourned till September 4, to get the outcome from the team expected to take our positions to the President,” he said.
Amaechi, who is also the National President, Nigeria Civil Service Union, said payment of the new minimum wage was long overdue, urging government to be proactive to avoid arrears which could create another round of agitations by workers.
The immediate past Chairman of the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission, Mr Richard Egbule, headed the government side.
FG should reverse power sector privatisation –Labour
Earlier in its communiqué, the NLC said it was against the Federal Government’s reported plan to divest 40 per cent of its shares in Discos and Gencos.
“The NEC rejected any attempt to divest 40 per cent of public shares in Discos and Gencos. The NEC posited that instead of selling public shares in Discos and Gencos, government should review and reverse the privatisation of the power sector. The NEC rejected any increase in electricity tariff in the country,” the communiqué added.
NLC also pointed out that high cost of living, widespread unemployment, mass poverty and galloping inequality gap were indications that the present performance of the nation’s economy was poor.
It also condemned what it described as campaign through the media for increase in fuel price in the country.
The NLC, therefore, called on the government to take adequate steps to develop people oriented socio-economic policies to address poverty and inequality faced by workers and citizens all over the country.
“NEC urged Nigerian workers and people to be vigilant against any increase in the price of refined petroleum products. Government is therefore urged to fix the inefficiencies in the downstream petroleum sub sector.
“While NEC awaits the final policy directives by the CBN on the restriction of access to official foreign exchange on food import in order to adopt a definite position, it urged the Federal Government to consider the fact that some food sources such as dairy products require essential foreign inputs for local production,” stated the NLC communique.
On the Federal Government’s ratification of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, the NLC commended the decision while it also praised the government for engaging social partners, particularly organised labour and the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria before taking the decision.
At the meeting, the NLC NEC appointed Emmanuel Ugboaja as the new General Secretary of the NLC to succeed Ozo-Eson while Ismail Bello was appointed to fill the vacant position of the Deputy General Secretary.