Labour calls off strike, yet to unveil new figure for minimum wage

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The organised labour union has called off the nationwide industrial action initially scheduled to commence on Tuesday to press home workers’ demand for a new national minimum wage.

The National Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Ayuba Wabba, announced the suspension at the end of the last meeting of the tripartite committee set up to come up with the new minimum wage on Monday evening.

Wabba said the decision to suspend the action was reached after agreements were reached and documents signed.

“Having reached this position and agreements signed, the proposed strike action is hereby suspended,” the labour leader said.

Wabba, however, refused to disclose the figure of the new minimum wage arrived at by the committee.

He said the figure would only be made public after the committee’s report would have been presented to President Muhammadu Buhari by 4.15pm on Tuesday.

He, however, said only one figure would be presented to the President.

He thanked all their tripartite partners for their understanding while particularly appreciating the roles of the private sector.

The Chairman of the committee, Amma Pepple, expressed delight that their assignment had been concluded.

“I am happy to report to you that we have concluded our assignment and we will submit our report to the President by 4.15pm on Tuesday.

“We will reveal the figure at the presentation,” she said.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, thanked members of the committee for doing a wonderful job. He described the process as a long journey.

“The committee has worked assiduously to reach the conclusion,” he said.

Strike threat causes panic

In response to the workers’ strike, residents of Asaba and environs on Monday abandoned offices and stores to besiege various bank galleries in Asaba, the state capital, to make withdrawals ahead of today’s strike.

Our correspondent’s survey across the state revealed that there were unusually long queues of customers withdrawing money from virtually all the Automated Teller Machines of commercial banks, especially within the Asaba metropolis.

One of the customers, simply identified as Okechukwu, said he was shocked to see such an unusual crowd, despite the fact that neither the state nor the local councils had paid the November salaries.

Another customer, Mr Monday Jindu, told newsmen that attention was shifted to the ATMs because of the failure of some of the banks to attend to the customers.

“I enter inside the bank, the queue is long, even the PoS inside the bank was not working and I came back to ATM again, yet unable to dispense cash. The problem is that tomorrow is strike, so coming back tomorrow is another issue because no money will be in the ATM.

“I have gone to three banks this morning to withdraw, I couldn’t, some banks that have up to three to four ATMs, only one will be working which cannot serve the crowd.”

An old woman who did not want her name in print said she had to join the long queue despite health challenges because there were rumours that the banks might fully join the strike.

“I am here to withdraw the little balance I have in my two accounts before the money in the ATMs is exhausted. I had spent all I have on my children who went to school on Sunday.” she said.

 
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