From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The Director-General, All Progressives Congress (APC) Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), Salihu Moh Lukman, has urged the Buhari administration not to negotiate with protesting Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), describing them as street dancers.
Organised labour had on Wednesday staged a protest to the National Assembly, armed with placards carrying various inscriptions like; ‘On national minimum wage we stand’, ‘No to relocation of minimum Wage to Concurrent List’, ‘Yes to minimum wage on exclusive list’.
Reacting to the protest, Lukman described it as needless, urging the NLC and other labour unions to prioritise the issue of productivity.
The PGF boss noted that though nobody opposes the national Minimum wage, labour leaders should however sharpen their negotiation capacities instead of protest and strike all the time.
Speaking in a press conference in Abuja over the nationwide protest embarked upon by the NLC, Lukman said: “the protest will be fruitless and cannot stop the ongoing process in the National Assembly. We can’t negotiate the future of this country on the streets.
‘We are not saying they should not protest but this protest is needless. I can guarantee that it is not going to stop the process at the National Assembly. It is not also going to take away the issue. We need to work with them to develop this democracy.
‘We can only do that if every constituent unit and citizens in those units can negotiate with the constituent governments and get results. As it is, we are all frustrated and that is what we should be addressing.
‘This “we against them” that labour is creating does not exist. We should be applying ourselves to resolving the problems of this democracy. There are fundamental problems bigger than we can imagine,’ he said.
Lukman further added that a structure that imposes the same minimum wage on a state as buoyant as Lagos and a state that is less buoyant like Zamfara or Yobe would impact negatively on productivity as workers in Lagos would feel shortchanged and therefore not give their total commitment to their job.
He said; “I want to be able to engage labour even though some of them continue to accuse me of being sponsored by a governor. But it is not just a governor. I have 20 governors sponsoring me. I am happy to have the knowledge that would attract all the consideration of being sponsored.
‘I believe the future of this country is about negotiating these issues. I have respect for the NLC and TUC leadership but my advice to them is that they have a better capacity in getting things done. In fact, this country is where it is because they are not really applying themselves in the right direction,’ he noted.