The House of Representatives on Tuesday vowed to ensure that some workers who allegedly shutdown critical infrastructure during the two-days nationwide strike declared by the Organised Labour are held accountable.

Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Hon. Akin Rotimi disclosed this via a statement titled: ‘Minimum wage dispute: House of Representatives welcomes suspension of the strike, restates commitment to remain responsive’, made available to Parliamentary Correspondents.

While reiterating the House support for improved living wage for Nigerian workers, Hon. Rotimi however accused the Organised Labour leaders, the majority of whom live far above the means of the average Nigerian, would engage in actions that exacerbate the suffering of ordinary citizens.

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The House Spokesman specifically accused them of engaging in persistent misinformation and disinformation regarding the earnings of lawmakers.

The statement read: “The House of Representatives acknowledges the recent industrial action undertaken by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) due to the breakdown in negotiations for a new national minimum wage.

“The People’s House is pleased to note that the strike action has been suspended for one week; to allow for further negotiation. During this period, as we have previously demonstrated, the People’s House remains responsive and committed to actively engaging all stakeholders to resolve the issues in the best interest of Nigerians.

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“Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Abbas Tajudeen, PhD, has consistently advocated a living wage and better working conditions for Nigerian workers. At various fora, he has emphasised the importance of addressing key national priorities, including the state of the economy and insecurity, through legislative action.

“While the Green Chamber is in full support of the call for improved wages and working conditions, there is great need to exercise caution in increasing the minimum wage beyond what our economy can sustain, to avoid unintended outcomes such as inflation, layoffs, and other adverse economic consequences. Thus, we restate the importance of approaching this issue from a balanced perspective to ensure long-term stability and prosperity for all Nigerians.

“In the same vein, we observed with concern, the direction of the strike action before its suspension, and what it portends for the future. Importantly, the shutdown of critical infrastructure, such as the national grid, constitutes economic sabotage and is detrimental to the well-being of our country. Those responsible for these actions must be held accountable.

“We also find it troubling that the leadership of Organised Labour, majority of whom live far above the means of the average Nigerian, would engage in actions that exacerbate the suffering of ordinary citizens.

“It is necessary therefore, to state that while industrial actions and dissent are fundamental rights within our democratic space that must be protected, the manner in which Labour conducted itself during the just-suspended strike, largely shows a lack of empathy for Nigerians.

“Is the objective of the leadership of the unions to compel the government to implement a living wage or to inflict pain on Nigerians?

“Additionally, it is important to address persistent misinformation and disinformation propagated by Organised Labour Leadership regarding the earnings of lawmakers.

“This is especially because Organised Labour has for years, contributed to false narratives about the remuneration of Members of the National Assembly, exaggerating figures to stoke public resentment and undermine the credibility of the Legislature.

“This tactic diverts attention from the core issues at stake and unfairly vilifies the Institution of Parliament. It is crucial for all parties to engage in an honest and transparent dialogue rather than resorting to the spread of inaccuracies for political leverage.

“Contrary to the insinuations of the Labour Leadership through its social media platforms, the Legislature is on the side of Nigerians and will continue to act in the best interest of our constituents – giving meaning to their mandate.

“The 10th House of Representatives is committed to strengthening relevant legislation to ensure that essential services remain operational during future industrial actions, thereby protecting the lives and well-being of all Nigerians.

“We urge the Leadership of Organised Labour to return to the negotiation table and engage other stakeholders, in good faith, with a view to achieving a balanced and sustainable outcome.

“The People’s House remains steadfast in our commitment to the well-being of the Nigerian worker and the overall development of our country,” the House Spokesman assured.

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