By Niyi Olutunde, Akure
The Chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Ondo State council, Comrade Oluwole Adeleye, has declared that there was no going back on the proposed nationwide industrial action by the labour.
Comrade Adeleye, however, said only favourable outcome of the meeting between the labour and the Federal Government tomorrow (Tuesday) would stop the proposed strike.
Ondo NLC chairman, stated this on Monday in Akure, while fielding questions from journalists, on the readiness of his council regarding the strike.
It would be recalled that the Nigeria Labour Congress has written a letter to its state councils of the union to prepare for an indefinite strike if the Federal Government fails to accept its demands on the consequential adjustment of salaries as a result of the new minimum wage by October 16, 2019.
According to him, “We received a mail precisely on October 11 from the National Headquarters of NLC alerting us in the state to get prepared for national industrial action that it’s going to be total.
“But in that letter we were made to understand that the Federal Government, through the Minister of Labour and Productivity, has invited the labour to a meeting tomorrow (today).
“Don’t forget the ultimatum will lapse on the 16, that’s Wednesday, and if they are able to give us what we have demanded from them, which is 29 percent increment for workers between level seven and fourteen and 24 percent increment for workers between fifteen and seventeen, then there’s no point going on strike. But anything short of that, we are going to prove to the whole world that we are ready to get what we want because we know the Government has the ability to pay.”
He expressed disappointment in the Federal Government for foot dragging on the implementation of the new minimum wage, saying “Minimum wage is not a gift or award. It is a negotiated salary which was sent to the National Assembly as a bill and passed as a law and assented to by the President himself on April 18. That makes a national issue and a matter of law.
“It is criminal on the part of government not to obey the law of the land which was assented to by the Federal Government.
“It took us two years to get to where we are. Is it going to take us years for them to implement it? We started with N65,000 and came down to N30,000.
The last time there was increment of salaries in the country was 2011 and that was N18,000. Between 2011 and now, the indices to determining increment in salaries have shown that workers deserved more than N30,000. For example, the pump price was increased from N87 to N145 per liter. That’s over 60 percent increment.
“Recently, the Federal Government announced increment in the Value Added Tax(VAT) from 5:0 percent to 7.5 percent. All this has direct negative implications on consumable things.
Lastly, the Naira value deprecated from N180 to $1 to N360 100 percent increase on the same N18,000 in the last couple of years.
“Imagine the N30,000 for a family of six. I am entitled to have four children. N30,000 per month, that’s N1000 per day. That’s six people would have to live on N1000 per day, which less than N200 per person per day. From this we service the rent, we take transport to work everyday, pay children’s school fees.
The Federal Government wants to give us N30,000 and it increased the VAT. They said the VAT is meant to fund the increment. So, it’s taking back what it’s giving us.
“What the labour is looking at is the value, the purchasing power of the money and not the quantum of the money. Is it a crime for the children of the poor to attend public university?”
The labour scribe, however, suggested that a reduction in the population of lawmakers in the country which is currently gulping a huge percentage of the nation resources would reduce the pressure on the nation’s economy.
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