Nigeria unions to strike July 20-22 over minimum wage

592

Nigeria’s main labour unions said they will begin a three-day strike on July 20 after the government and private sector failed to implement a minimum wage law signed by President Goodluck Jonathan earlier this year.

Jonathan signed the bill passed by parliament more than three months ago more than doubling the monthly minimum wage to 18,000 naira ($120) from 7,500 naira but the unions say government departments and private employers have failed to raise pay.
“We are compelled to take this decision because we have come to the simple conclusion that governments at all levels in this country are not willing and are not ready to pay the new national minimum wage,” Omar Abdulwahee, president of the National Labour Congress (NLC) said in a statement, Reuters reports.
“We are therefore left with no other option than to commence a strike action … that will begin on Wednesday 20th this month and elapses on Friday 22.”

The union said this warning strike would be followed by indefinite action unless there was a full implementation of the minimum wage. They rejected an offer by the government to raise the pay of some employees within set pay bands.

Government officials were not available for comment.

NLC members work across most sectors of sub-Saharan Africa’s second-biggest economy, including parts of the oil industry.

But widespread strike action has been rare in the past few years in Nigeria and previous walkouts tended to last only a day or two, in a country where much of the population is employed in the informal economy and get by on $2 a day or less.