Bimbola Oyesola and Steve Agbota
Workers in the Civil Service and other Public Sector yesterday began mobilisation for a nationwide strike accussing governments of derailing the implementation of a new National Minimum Wage.
This is coming on the heels of the threat by the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) to shutdown the nation’s seaports as from today to compel the payment of wages allegedly owed dockworkers and stevedoring companies by the international oil companies (IOCs).
Operating under the aegis of the Trade Union Side (TUS) of the Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council (JNPSNC), the eight unions in the federal and state public services stated that they might commence industrial action if the consequential adjustment from the new national Minimum wage of N30,000.00 per month remains the same.
Its acting Chairman, Comrade Anchaver Simon, and the Secretary, Comrade Alade Bashir Lawal, lamented that since the Committee to work out the Consequential Adjustments started to meet, the two tiers of government have been coming up with one strange proposal or the other, all with the intent of scuttling the implementation of the new National Minimum Wage signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari last April 18.
“As things are right now, the Government is only prepared to pay peanuts to workers as adjustment under the pretext that it would be undertaking general salary review in the Public Service”.
The Labour leaders stated that the TUS had initially proposed that since the minimum wage was increased by 66.66 per cent,from N18,000.000 to N30,000.00, salaries for officers on Grade Levels 01-17 should be adjusted accordingly to maintain the relativity that exists in the salary structure in the Public Service.
Meanwhile, following the expiration of the two-week ultimatum to the IOCs yesterday, all operations at the seaport terminals across the country might be grounded today as the MWUN begins an indefinite industrial action to press home their demand for outstanding wages owed by the IOCs.
Restating the union’s position yesterday, its President General, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju, told newsmen that the IOCs have so far refused to engage the union on the issue, thereby leaving it with no option than to begin the action today.
According to Adeyanju, the issue of unpaid wages has lingered for over a year and now, but “enough is enough. The IOCs need to respect the laws of the land. These people are denying us our rights by failing to pay our wages.”
He commended the Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala-Usman, for her efforts to rally the IOCs operating offshore and onshore across Nigeria’s territorial waters.
She lamented that some workers have died from situations