Photograph — Quartz

The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) last week issued an ultimatum of January 31, 2020, to states within the federation who are yet to comply and implement the N30, 000 new minimum wage. 

The ultimatum was revealed at the National Executive Council meeting in Lagos on Thursday 9, January 2020. At the meeting, TUC warned states who have not concluded negotiations and payment of the new minimum wage to “get ready for industrial action after the expiration of the ultimatum.”

A communiqué was issued after the meeting which was signed by Quadri Olaleye the President of the TUC, and Musa Lawal the Secretary-General. A vital part of the communiqué read that “The congress advises all state governments that have not complied with the implementation and immediate payment of the N30, 000 new national minimum wage to commence negotiations and implementation on or before 31st January 2020.”

Some of the states that are yet to implement this minimum wage include Ekiti, Cross River, Anambra, Osun, Sokoto, Benue, Gombe, and Niger amongst others. According to Ayuba Wabba President of the Nigeria Labor Congress (NLC), only Lagos and Kaduna states commenced the new minimum wage implementation before the first deadline expired on December 31, 2019.

The communiqué also stated that if the lagging state governments fail to implement the new wage, “state councils have been directed to commence mobilization of their members immediately.” This simply means that failure to adhere to the new January 31, 2020 deadline will make TUC embark on strikes in the affected states. 

However, if a strike emerges as a result of non-compliance from the listed states, it would have a ripple effect on not just the workers but also employers and the economy at large. Factors like time-consumption, scarcity, rise in price and inflation amongst others would be inevitable. 

Priority should be given to the deadline by lagging state governments whose responsibility is to ensure that the new wage is implemented. Also, the state governments need to recognize that this increment has the potential to lift many out of poverty.

Nevertheless, the Union group announced that it would meet today, January 13, 2020, to review the minimum wage negotiations between different states and workers across Nigeria.

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