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Minimum Wage: Planned Strike Premature, Illegal — AGF Fagbemi To NLC, TUC

Monday 3 June 2024

Lateef Fagbemi, the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, says the planned nationwide strike by Organised Labour on the demand for the minimum wage is illegal.

The Justice Minister, in a Sunday letter addressed to the Presidents of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC), categorically said that the “call to industrial action is ineffectual, premature, and illegal.”

The labour unions had said an indefinite strike would commence on June 3 over the Federal Government’s refusal to increase the minimum wage from N60,000 to N494,000.

Reacting, Fagbemi said the unions’ decision to embark on a strike came when “the federal government and other stakeholders involved in the Tripartite Committee on the determination of a new national minimum wage had not declared an end to negotiations.”

According to him, NLC and TUC failed to issue a mandatory 15-day strike notice in compliance with the Trade Disputes Act 2004 and the Trade Unions Act.

The planned strike, he noted, is at odds with the order from the national industrial court in 2023, which restrained the unions from embarking on industrial actions.

READ ALSO: New Minimum Wage: Reason With Us, Indefinite Strike Not Solution — FG To Organised Labour

“You are aware that the federal and state governments are not the only employers to be bound by a new national minimum wage. Hence, it is vital to balance the interest and capacity of all employers of labour in the country (inclusive of the Organised Private Sector) in order to determine a minimum wage for the generality of the working population.

“I would like to draw your attention to Sections 41(1) and 42(1) of the Trade Disputes Act 2004 tax amended, which requires both NLC and TUC to issue mandatory strike notices of a minimum of 15 days.

“It is pertinent to observe that at no time did either NLC or TUC declare a trade dispute with their employers or issue any strike notice as required by law for such strike action to be legitimate and lawful. It is not in doubt that the fundamental importance of the 15-day notice is underscored by the fact that Sections 41 & 42 (1)(b) criminalise non-compliance with this requirement for a valid declaration of strike action.

“Consequent on the foregoing, the call to industrial action is premature, ineffectual and illegal. The proposed strike action is also at variance with the order of the National Industrial Court and ongoing mediatory settlement efforts over issues connected with the subject matter of the order,” the letter read.

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via: Information Nigeria

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