A cross-section of workers on Tuesday in Abuja, expressed mixed reactions on organized labour’s suspension of the Nov. 6, proposed strike to press for the implementation of a new national minimum wage.
Members of National Union of Textile, Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria, NUTGTWN, during May Day match past.
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and United Labour Congress (ULC), was scheduled to commence strike by 12 midnight of Nov. 5 but suspended the action on Monday night after a meeting of the Tripartite committee. Some workers who spoke in separate interviews commended the unions and the Federal Government for reaching an agreement.
Mr Idris Abdullahi, a civil servant, praised the unions for being resilient.
According to him, before the suspension of the industrial action, the union leaders are sure that the government will not renege. “Is a good thing the strike was called off, it shows that the government is on the same page with organized labour,’’ he said. Mr Lonnie James, a health worker, commended the unions for ensuring that the government obliged workers’ demand. “The truth is that workers do not want to shut down the economy, but workers are suffering and the only way to get the government attention is through strike. “I am glad that the issue was resolved without going on strike. Mrs Joy Hassan, a civil servant, said that the strike was called off in a hurry, adding that they did not tell Nigerians, how much government agreed to pay. “I think NLC should have informed us the amount reached at their last meeting, before suspending the strike, as government can change its mind anytime.
“If tomorrow the Federal Government comes out to tell us that they cannot pay more than N24,000, labour will find it difficult to regroup.’’ She stressed that Nigeria workers need the increment, adding the “suffering is too much.’’ Mr Yusuf Mustarpha, a teacher at the Government Secondary School, Wuse, expressed dissatisfaction on the way the strike was suspended, stressing that the must ensure implementation of agreement reached. According to him, the proposed N30,000 that was initially agreed on, should be a starting point. “Labour leaders should follow up until implementation, in order to put smiles on the faces of workers that have endured for so long.’’ NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, had explained that the strike was suspended after agreements and documents were signed. “Having reached this position and agreements signed, the proposed strike is hereby suspended,’’ he said. Wabba, however, refused to disclose the exact figure agreed by the committee. He said that the amount would only be made public after presentation of the report to President Muhammadu Buhari. (NAN)