THE REPORT OF THE NATIONAL PROTEST RALLIES ON THE ACTUALISATION OF THE NEW NATIONAL MINIMUM WAGE ON TUESDAY, JANUARY 8, 2019.
At its meeting of Monday, November 19, 2018, the National Executive Council of the Nigeria Labour Congress in furtherance of consultations held with the leadership of other members of Organised Labour, unanimously adopted a resolution to the effect that if by the 31st of -December 2018, Government failed to transmit the executive bill on the new national minimum wage of N30,000 to the National Assembly for its perfection into law, affiliate unions of the Nigeria Labour Congress would join other members of Organised Labour and their civil society allies to embark on protest rallies across the country on Tuesday, January 8, 2019 as a prelude to an indefinite national strike.
In compliance with this resolution of the National Executive Council (NEC) of the Nigeria Labour Congress, members of the affiliate unions of the Congress together with other members of Organised Labour and their civil society allies massed, mobilized and held protest rallies at the 36 state capitals and Abuja expressing their displeasure and demanding immediate transmission of the executive bill to the National Assembly. In each state capital, workers demanded that governors put a stop to further frustration of the process of realising the new minimum wage threatening to withhold their vote in the event of any further breach. The workers in great numbers said the payment of the new minimum wage which amounts to no more than N50 per meal for a family of six, is not contingent on surplus resources but dependent on political will, prudence, prioritisation, reduction in cost of governance and inimization of corruption. Workers and pensioners threatened to embark on an indefinite strike action, crippling services in both public and private sectors across the country except their demand is met.
Workers embarked on this action across the country in great numbers and high spirits. Beyond this, they demonstrated resolve and capacity to start and sustain a prolonged national strike action. One other remarkable thing about the protest is that no state governor, either in representative capacity or in direct contact, emphatically said they would not pay the new national minimum wage of N30,000. The logical question therefore remains, who
has the Governors’ Forum been speaking for?
The protest rallies from state to state, took a familiar pattern. They were preceded by consultations, mobillisations, solidarity song, reading of Congress President’s message to workers, fiery speeches denouncing the delay of the perfection of the new national minimum wage instrument, march across the streets with music and fanfare and delivery of the demand letter to the Governor or appointed representative in Government House. With the exception of Ebonyi, Kaduna, Borno, and Nasarawa states, which due to the prevailing security situation restricted their movement, workers marched
across the length and breath of each state capital and Abuja.
Please find below, a state-by-state account of what transpired accompanied by pictures.