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Strike: Senate condemns Labour’s excesses, vows to prevent repeat

The Senate on Tuesday expressed displeasure at some of the excesses by members of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) during the nationwide strike for a new minimum wage on Monday.

The upper legislative chamber declared that the shutdown of the national grid and the disruption of Hajj flights by some labour unionists were more of economic sabotage than agitation for a new minimum wage.

It consequently declared that such situations would not be allowed to re-occur as laws against them would be reflected in the new National Minimum Wage Act that would be enacted soon after the submission of the bill to that effect by the executive.

The Senate’s grouse against the alleged excesses of labour unionists during the now-suspended nationwide strike came through a motion on the strike action and new minimum wage by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Labour, Senator Diket Plang (APC Plateau Central).

Senator Plang had in the motion requested the Senate to call on the federal government to expedite action on the new minimum wage as a way of stopping the industrial unrest, which was, however, overtaken by the sudden suspension of the strike by labour.

But in his remarks, the President of the Senate, Senator Godswill Akpabio, said though it was heartwarming that the strike has been suspended, the excesses by some labour unionists need to be condemned.

“One of such excesses was the shutdown of the National Grid, which is more of an economic sabotage than agitation for a new minimum wage. Disruption of Hajj flights by some other labour unionists, as said by the Deputy President of the Senate, is also not palatable being a religious exercise.

“Also, disruption or prevention of students from writing their West African School Certificate Examination by some labour unionists during the strike was bad because the examination is not organized by Nigeria but by West African countries,” he said.

He added that such actions would not be allowed to be repeated as required laws against them would be reflected in the new National Minimum Wage Bill expected from the executive very soon. He, however, commended the labour unions for calling off the strike.

“I want to thank the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress for listening to the voice of Nigerians and the international community by calling off the strike to enable negotiations to continue, and we wish them well in the negotiations.

“On our part, we will continue to do our best by making contributions and at the same time awaiting the incoming Bill on Minimum Wage for us to enact for the benefit of all Nigerians,” he said.

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