Nigeria's main unions warn of pay strike

Labour unions gave the government ultimatum

GMT 08:25 2011 Friday ,01 July

Arab Today, arab today Labour unions gave the government ultimatum

Nigeria's main labour unions gave the government an ultimatum to pay workers or face strike
Abuja - AFP

Nigeria's main labour unions gave the government an ultimatum to pay workers or face strike Nigeria's main labour unions Thursday gave the government a two-week ultimatum to pay workers a minimum wage agreed to a year ago, or face a nationwide strike, including in the key oil sector. "Organised labour under the auspices of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) hereby issued a two-week ultimatum for full implementation of the minimum wage across the country," NLC leader Abdulwahed Omar told reporters.
Omar told unions in both public and private sectors to start "mobilisation of Nigerians for a nationwide strike action at the expiration of this ultimatum."
In July last year, after months of negotiations, unions settled for a 240 percent pay hike to 18,000 naira ($118) from 7,500 ($49) per month that had been paid for over a decade. They had initially demanded an almost 700 percent rise.
Just before the April general election, President Goodluck Jonathan in March signed into law, a bill for the application of the new national minimum wage.
But now some of the country's 36 state governments are saying they are unable to pay the new wage because their revenue cannot support it.
In Nigeria, Africa's most populous country and leading oil exporter, some of the continent's richest people live in luxury on a scale unimaginable to the impoverished masses.
The powerful blue-collar oil workers National Union of Petroleum and Gas Union (NUPENG), an affiliate of the NLC, said it will also down tools.
"NUPENG workers have agreed to join in the strike," its general secretary, Owei Lakemfa, told AFP.
The NLC claims to have 42 affiliate unions and a membership of around five million workers.

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