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Delayed Minimum Wage: Declare for nationwide strike now, CDWR urges labour By Kunle Michael

Delayed Minimum Wage: Declare for nationwide strike now, CDWR urges labour

 

Abeni Aso-Oke
Abeni Aso-Oke

The Organized Labour has been advised to immediately mobilize and declare a nationwide strike over the minimum wage.

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The advice was given by the Campaign for Democratic and Workers’ Rights (CDWR).

According to CDWR, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), as the next step in the minimum wage struggle, should declare and mobilize widely for a 48-hour general strike and mass protest to demand a minimum wage not less than N200,000.

In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Chinedu Bosah, CDWR said negotiations over a new minimum wage have been delayed for over three weeks, with the government and private sector firm on paying N60,000.

This deadlock led to an indefinite strike starting on June 3, 2024, which was suspended the next day.

The suspension was supposed to last five days, but CDWR criticized the Labour leaders for not having a contingency plan when the government failed to meet their demands.

Many leaders went to attend International Labour Organisation (ILO) meetings in Switzerland.

This marks the second time this year that Labour leadership has suspended actions without follow-through, the first being a 2-week ultimatum in March 2024 that lapsed without any significant outcome.

The June 3 strike was notably effective, causing major economic disruptions, including the shutdown of seaports, airports, and electricity sectors.

Despite this momentum, CDWR accused Labour leaders of inaction, which allowed the ruling elite to recover and strategize.

Bosah suggested that instead of sending a large delegation to the ILO meetings, labour representatives should have stayed in Nigeria to mobilize support for their cause.

Bosah pointed out that some states have yet to implement even the outdated N30,000 minimum wage, citing Zamfara State’s recent implementation as an example.

He said with inflation at 33.95 percent and the cost of living skyrocketing, the proposed N60,000 minimum wage is grossly inadequate.

Basic necessities like tomatoes, beans, yam, rice, and eggs have become unaffordable, forcing many Nigerians into hunger.

In contrast, politicians and top management staff enjoy extravagant wages and allowances.

Bosah argued that the root cause of Nigeria’s economic woes is the capitalist system and the ruling class’s exploitation and looting.

He stressed the need for trade union leaders to not only fight for better wages but also resist anti-poor policies such as higher taxes, subsidy removal, and commercialization of education and healthcare.

CDWR called for a 48-hour general strike and mass protest to demand a minimum wage of at least N200,000 and the reversal of anti-poor policies.

Given the NLC and TUC’s recent failures, CDWR urged trade unionists and activists to organize grassroots campaigns to build support and ensure accountable leadership.

Among the immediate demands should be the automatic adjustment of the minimum wage in line with inflation and the rising cost of living, to avoid lengthy negotiations and ensure wages do not fall behind.

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