*Strike action no solution to minimum wage debate, Kwara labour unions told*
Gamji Members Association of Kwara State (GAMA) on Sunday urged the labour unions in the state to rethink its mobilisation of its members for industrial action, warning that the step would hurt everyone, including workers themselves.
“While we understand the standpoint of the labour unions especially from the point of view of the rising cost of living, we caution that embarking on an industrial action is not the solution. This is especially true when we consider the fact that the state government’s finances are seriously stretched already,” Alhaji Abdullahi Yinka Agaka, publicity secretary of the pan-northern Nigerian group, said in a statement.
GAMJI is an umbrella body for followers of the late premier of the northern region Sir Ahmadu Bello (Sardauna).
“Like the state government has been doing, we also appeal to the workers to have a rethink, embrace more talks, and appreciate the fact that the government, whatever its imperfections, has shown good faith in handling workers’ welfare social investments, and infrastructural development, even during COVID-19 when it never stopped paying or cut workers’ salaries like a few states did.
“Similarly, we call on the government to continue to engage the labour unions since both sides clearly comprise very patriotic elements.
“We appeal to both sides to act according to the realities of the state. A strike action will hurt millions of people.
“Both sides have a responsibility to not bring unnecessary hardship to the populace. If there is any strike action, both sides will still return to the negotiating table and that clearly explains the futility of letting things get to the point of strike action.
“We urge the state government to sign the minimum wage law as soon as possible but without resorting to borrowing or paying percentages to workers, as seen in the past. This is why we commend its numerous efforts to reform the system for efficiency.
“Finally, we call on everyone to act very responsibly at this time because partisan sentiments in time of serious state matters would not take us anywhere.”