Labour Calls for Nationwide Strike over Minimum Wage Delay

 Labour leaders Festus Osifo (second left) and Joe Ajaero (second right) at the 2024 Workers’ Day in Abuja
Labour leaders Festus Osifo (second left) and Joe Ajaero (second right) at the 2024 Workers’ Day in Abuja

The Campaign for Democratic and Workers' Rights (CDWR) has called on Nigeria's labour unions, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), to immediately declare a nationwide strike to demand a minimum wage of at least 200,000 Naira and the reversal of recent increases in electricity tariffs.

According to CDWR, the unions should mobilize widely for a 48-hour general strike and mass protest as the next step in the ongoing minimum wage struggle.

The group argues that the government's proposed minimum wage of 60,000 Naira is inadequate and fails to keep up with the rising cost of living.

CDWR contends that the recent mass protests in Kenya, which forced the government to withdraw an IMF-inspired tax increase, demonstrate that Nigerian workers and youth can also compel the Tinubu administration to reverse policies like the hike in petroleum prices, electricity tariffs, and other "anti-poor" neoliberal measures.

The group has called on the NLC and TUC leadership to take decisive action, noting that past failures to mobilize effectively have undermined the unions' credibility.

CDWR suggests that trade unionists and activists should organize grassroots campaigns to build support for the struggle and ensure the unions have committed leaders.

Additionally, CDWR proposes that the minimum wage should be automatically adjusted in line with inflation and the rising cost of living, rather than waiting years for renegotiation.

The group acknowledges that achieving this will require a sustained struggle, as the "capitalist elite" will resist any concessions that undermine their interests.

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