Prominent workers’ unions Nigeria Labor Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) have launched an indefinite nationwide strike after minimum wage negotiations with the government failed.
Government workers abstained from being present at work predominantly in the Nigerian capital of Abuja and the economic hub of Lagos as the strikes went into effect on Thursday.
The unions demand that the government triple the monthly minimum wage from 18,000 naira to somewhere between 45,000 and 65,000 naira ($125-$180).
“There are clear signs that the government is not ready for a new national minimum wage,” NLC president Ayuba Wabba told Agence France-Presse.
“A mother of all strikes” would be called if the government did not react positively to the demands, he said, suggesting the current walk-out may last seven days.
Labor Minister Chris Ngige has however called for a truce, stating that talks would resume on October 4 with representatives from all of the country’s 36 states.
Demands for a raise come after Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari recently pledged to revise the minimum salary following more than two years of rising fuel prices and national currency devaluation.
The strike further pressures the incumbent president’s plans to run for a second term in office as opposition candidates seek to unseat Buhari by attacking his economic policies.
Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari said he would seek his party’s presidential ticket to contest elections in February 2019.
The Nigerian economy remains fragile as it has recently made its way out of recession. The country struggles to maintain economic growth but is susceptible to backpedaling, according to a Tuesday report by the Monetary Policy Committee of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
By Africafrique and agencies