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Nationwide Strike Begins In Nigeria, Airport Gates Shut Against Passengers

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Activities at the Benin Airport were grounded on Thursday as both entry and exit gates were locked, with hundreds of intending passengers stranded, arising from nationwide strike called by leadership of organised labour.

Organised labour had on Wednesday directed all its affiliates to commence an indefinite warning strike on Thursday to press home its demand for a new national minimum wage.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that the strike caused gridlock within the axis of the Airport Road as motorists had hectic time trying to meander the area.

While hundreds of intending passengers milled around both entry and exit gates,  security personnel struggled to control both human and vehicular traffic.

Edo Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Mr Emmanuel Ademokun, who spoke to NAN, expressed satisfaction with the level of compliance.

He told NAN that he and his team, were going round to ensure total compliance with the stay at home directive of the NLC.

“We want to ensure that workers in the state comply with the directive of the NLC of industrial action.

“We are not just sitting, but going around to monitor things ourselves.

“I am quite satisfied with what I have seen so far and this will continue until there is a directive from the national secretariat,” he stated.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government says the Tripartite Committee on the new National Minimum Wage will reconvene on October 4, to conclude its negotiation process, as demanded by organised labour.Sen. Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment said this while addressing newsmen after a closed meeting with the leadership of organised labour on Wednesday in Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the minister met with organised labour leaders who were also part of the Tripartite Committee on the new National Minimum Wage to update them on government position.

NAN recalls that the organised labour had accused the Federal Government of stalling the negotiation by failing to mention a figure as a new minimum wage for workers in the country.

The labour leaders had also on Sept. 12 issued the Federal Government a 14-day ultimatum insisting that the Tripartite Committee on the new National Minimum Wage should conclude its work within the stipulated time frame.

The Organised Labour, however, insisted it would commence nationwide warning strike over the non-implementation of the new National Minimum Wage with effect from midnight of Wednesday, Sept. 26.

According to Ngige, the government of this administration is a labour friendly government and this, we have shown in many ways and we will continue to show it.

“One of the ways that we going to show this is by implementing the new national minimum wage and this we need to fix a base for the lowest paid worker in Nigeria.

“We are resuming next week, precisely on Thursday, October 4 and the meeting may split over to October 5, as we normally use two days for the meeting.

“So, we are reconvening the meeting on the October 4, and everything necessary has being put in place,” he said.

The minister noted that the labour leaders have been informed about it and are expected to communicate to their members, saying we do not need to have any strike in the country.

He assured organised labour that before the meeting on the October 4 all necessary demands by organised labour would have being factored in.

“Part of our consultation, means that the Economic Management Team, which is managing the entire economy of the country would have something to work on.

“Already, they are working on it and the National Salaries and Wages Commission and it is expected that before that meeting on October 4 they would have been through with the work.

“So, everything is subject to negotiation, therefore, on Thursday, October 4, we are going back to the negotiating table,” he said.

Ngige added that the 14-day ultimatum issued to the Federal Government did not get to me; otherwise, we would have addressed it scientifically the way it should be done.

He also said that the Federal Government was optimistic that the committee would wrap up in October and all other processes as it concerns the new national minimum wage for workers in the country.

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