By Patrick Obia
The Nigerian Labor Congress (NLC) has threatened to vote out any governor who fails to implement the proposed minimum wage.
“We are ready for 6th November and if any governor that does not pay, we will vote him out,” said Comrade Oyongha Edim, the vice chairman of the NLC in Cross River State on Sunday while speaking as a guest on the radio program, ‘The Dialogue With Agba Jalingo’ monitored by CrossRiverWatch.
The organised labor which consists of the NLC, Trade Union Congress and the United Labor Congress is asking for the implementation of the agreement of the tripartite committee which proposed NGN30,000.
But, following the unwillingness of the government to pay that sum, the organised labor had threatened to embark on an indefinite strike with the Cross River chapter chairman of the NLC, Comrade John Ushie calling on residents to brace themselves for the industrial action.
“Let me also inform the workers and the public that the decision of the CWC is that between now and tomorrow (Monday) if the federal government cannot accept by beginning the transmission of the recommendation of tripartite committee of the president whereby they proceed to the national assembly, then by Tuesday we are going to down tools and we will shot down the entire country. As I talk now we have finished all the arrangements and nothing is taking us back.
“We are going on, everybody buy your food and stock because after Monday, by Tuesday it will be a total shut down.”
He emphasized that the minimum wage is workers entitlement and not what they should be begging for.
“Minimum wage is the right, not a favor to workers. Whether in the entire world or in Nigeria, it is a right, not a favor because you must be paid for what you worked for. I don’t know whether anybody can say today we can abrogate the service and then we can work because we are political office holders or politician and then we can be able to go ahead. Let us try that, if it is possible, then we can go ahead.
“No worker would want to die there, all of us have the equal right, certificate and everything to go there and contain where they are.
“But it is wrong for us as Nigerians not standing on the truth, seeing what’s wrong and we are trying to whip sentiment,” he said.
He further explained that the minimum wage will be of benefit to all both the workers, market women, private sectors as well as the government as there will be increase in tax.
On the insinuation that the increment of the minimum wage will cause inflation in the nation’s economy, Comrade Edim, averred that: “I don’t think that is true because as you remember, before now, early this year we had complete breakdown of the economy; they didn’t increase salaries. So, I don’t see thirty thousand naira bringing the breakdown in the economy.”
He maintained that the industrial action will go on irrespective of a court order if their agitations were not met stressing that the unions are ready to vote them out.
However, as at press time, unconfirmed information reaching CrossRiverWatch suggested that the planned strike has been shelved following the agreement of government to pay NGN30,000 as minimum wage.
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