Looming Strike: We Are Not Aware Of Any Court Injunction – Labour Unions
"Is there a court injunction? We are not aware." This is the chorus on the lips of the leaders of different labour unions in Nigeria, as the nation prepare for a total shutdown of its sectors in an industrial action.
The strike is one day away, but no one is sure of what the day will bring, as the government has continued to push for an agreement that is favourable to all parties.
The government had gone to court to get an injunction that stopped the unions from embarking on the strike, but the leaders of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the United Labour Congress say they are not aware of any such injunction.
It was a statement that categorically lays bare what the unions will do should the government fail to meet their demand by Monday afternoon.
The unions are asking for 30,000 Naira as the new National Minimum Wage, but state governments, on which most of the burden of payment lie, have proposed 22,500 Naira, insisting that the amount was what they could shoulder.
Most of them currently owe salaries.
On national television, the head of the United Labour Congress (ULC), Igwe Achese, said he was not aware of any court injunction.
"We have not received any notice.
"What is happening is a sign that the government of the day is not being true to its promises of ensuring worker's welfare," he said, referring to the said injunction.
On the amount that the unions were requesting, he insisted that 30,000 Naira was a far cry from what Nigerian workers were entitled to.
He says governors who were insisting that they could not pay the amount were not being realistic.
"We hear of trillions and trillions of Naira being recovered as looted funds.
"When you hear these figures you will wonder where all that money come from," he said, insisting that states were capable of paying the the proposed amount.
On what would stop the planned industrial action, Mr Achese said: "The only thing that can be done is to accept or apply the 30,000 Naira.
"Allow us to submit the demand to the President for onward submission to the National Assembly, which will need to pass the bill into law".
The ULC President also accused the leadership of applying delay tactics and insisted that the labour unions would not back down until the the government gave approval for their demand.
"The government is playing politics with Nigerian workers' welfare.
"We are almost heading into 2019.
"The National Assembly was in recess for almost two months.
"This new minimum wage is going to be a law that will pass through the National Assembly and we are aware that from 18 December, politicians will start their campaign and members of the National Assembly will be at their various locations campaigning.
"What is happening is a tactical delay that is intentional and we have told our members to be on stand by," he said.
They are ready for the showdown with the government even as the TUC President, Bobboi Kaigama, also said the union was not aware of any court injunction.
Top officials of the labour unions and government representatives are holding talks in Abuja on Monday, in attempt to avert the industrial action that people fear would crumble the economy further.
Labour Minister, Chris Ngige, the Acting Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed and members of the organised private sector are at the meeting.
The outcome of Monday's meeting would determine whether labour unions would begin the strike on Tuesday.
On the impact of the strike on the nation's economy, labour says it was unfortunate, but insists that the time to make the demand for a new minimum wage is now.
Bounce News tried to put a call through to the ULC President, but he was not reachable.
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