The leadership of the Labour Party (LP) has called on both the Federal Government and Organised Labour to urgently return to the negotiation table and arrive at an acceptable position for the sake of suffering Nigerians. The appeal, made by the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Obiora Ifoh, underscores the dire consequences of the ongoing strike on the nation.

In a statement, Ifoh emphasized that Nigeria has been plunged into darkness, with hospitals shut and water pipes running dry merely hours into the industrial action. This has exacerbated the hardships faced by Nigerians, who are already grappling with numerous challenges.

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“It is imperative for both the government and labour to exhibit flexibility and find common ground to alleviate the suffering brought about by the strike,” Ifoh remarked. He expressed that the Federal Government should not have allowed the strike to commence, stressing the necessity of a new minimum wage. “Whether a new minimum wage is due is not up for debate. The current minimum wage of ₦30,000 is grossly inadequate in today’s economic climate,” he stated.

Ifoh pointed out that the existing wage can hardly sustain anyone in the current economic reality, highlighting the urgent need for an upward review. The Labour Party believes this review is essential to address the financial struggles of Nigerian workers.

The party’s statement urges both the labour unions and the government to make concessions in the spirit of negotiation. “We must find a reasonable compromise from both sides,” Ifoh urged. He suggested that while the government should consider increasing the amount proposed, Organised Labour must also moderate their demands to reach a mutually beneficial agreement.

“We implore both parties to return to the negotiation table,” the statement continued. The Labour Party particularly appealed to the Federal Government to act as a paternal figure in this dispute, ensuring that Labour is willing to come back to the table for discussions. “The government must demonstrate concern and sincerity, showing readiness to compromise to gain the trust of the unions and bring them back to the negotiation table,” Ifoh added.

The nationwide industrial action, initiated by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) on Monday, is a response to the Federal Government’s failure to agree on a proposed new minimum wage. The unions argue that the current minimum wage of ₦30,000 is insufficient to meet the basic needs of an average Nigerian worker, especially as not all governors are adhering to this wage standard.

The Minimum Wage Act of 2019, signed by former President Muhammadu Buhari, mandates a review every five years to align with contemporary economic demands. However, the current wage award expired in April 2024, yet the government has not implemented a new wage structure.

The opposition Labour Party insists that the government must display genuine concern and a willingness to negotiate in good faith. This approach, according to the party, is crucial for resolving the impasse and preventing further suffering among the Nigerian populace.

In conclusion, the Labour Party’s call to action highlights the urgent need for both the Federal Government and Organised Labour to engage in constructive dialogue. Only through such negotiations can a resolution be reached that will ease the hardships currently faced by Nigerian workers and restore normalcy to the country.