The new minimum wage negotiation for workers is a collective struggle and not the sole responsibility of organised labour, says the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).

The labour movement says all hands must as such be on deck from the beginning of the negotiation, ending and its implementation to ensure that workers overcome those who have already made up their minds to subject Nigerians to starvation.

NLC, president, Joe Ajaero, who was represented by General Secretary, Benson Upah, expressed this view in Abuja, during the International Centenary Conference in memory of the passage of Vladimir Lenin, a Russian revolutionary, politician and political theorist with the theme, “Lenin, Leninism, Africa and The World.”

Arise News reports that Lenin served as the first and founding head of Government of Soviet Russia between 1917 and 1924.

The appeal by NLC came amid disclosure by the Federal Government that a panel to negotiate a new national minimum wage for public sector workers would be inaugurated before the end of January.

The minimum wage was reviewed from N18, 000 to N30, 000 on April 18, 2019 and signed into law by former President Muhammadu Buhari.

Following the removal of subsidy payment on petroleum products by the government, the NLC and the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) have been advocating for a wage increase.

One of the demands of Labour was an upward review of the national wage to N200, 000.

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Ajaero said Nigerian workers were simply asking for a living wage, adding that “it is only when we work together as comrades that we can achieve this.”

He said the celebration of Lenin was a singular opportunity for Nigerians to rethink the nation’s political strategy and make it more practical to avoid the mistakes made since 1999.

He said:”It is important that at this juncture that I invite all of us as we prepare to negotiate the national minimum wage this year not to see it as a struggle for the NLC and TUC but a collective struggle. I request that we all join hands together from the beginning of the negotiation exercise to the end of it and to its ultimate implementation so that we can overcome those who have already made up their minds to pay Nigerians a starvation wage. We seek for a Living Wage and it is only when we work together as comrades that we can achieve this”.

While calling for the entrenchment of Lenin’s ideology for a just society, former Country Representative of ActionAid Nigeria, Ene Obi, said the NLC and TUC have been sleeping in the face of anti- people happenings in the country and need to wake up.

Obi emphasised the need to encourage students to develop an ideology before graduation, adding that the centenary commemoration of Lenin could not have come at a better time than now.

She said, “The NLC and TUC have to wake up. In this country, just when we went to bed with the knowledge that petrol is N165, today it is N617 and nothing has happened. Studentship has reduced and we are not investing in human capital. There are no ideologies these days and even our students in tertiary institutions are bereft of the importance of been taught ideologies before graduation.

“Nigerian government gave scholarships to students of public universities and even to go overseas, but this is history today.”