Minimum wage: On N30,000 we stand – Labour - Welcome to Uju Ayalogu's Blog

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Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Minimum wage: On N30,000 we stand – Labour

Minimum wage: On N30,000 we stand – Labour

Showdown appeared inevitable as governors yesterday offered to pay N22,500 instead of the N30,000 demanded by Organised Labour as the new national minimum wage.

Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) and Governor of Zamfara, Abdul’aziz Yari, who read the decision of the governors as contained in the communique at the end of the emergency meeting, last night, said the acceptable minimum wage must be done in such a way that total personnel cost does not exceed 50 percent of the revenue available to each state.

“The welfare of all Nigerians is our ultimate concern. In all our states, we are concerned about the deteriorating economic situation experienced by the vulnerable segment of our population.

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“In agreeing to a national minimum wage, however, the Forum is even more concerned about development, particularly in the health, education and infrastructure spheres.

“It is therefore our considered position that since the percentage of salaried workers is not more than five percent of the total working population, our position must not just reflect a figure, but also a sustainable strategy based on ability and capacity to pay, as well as reflective of all our developmental needs in each state.

“Afterall, Section 3 of the National Salaries Income and Wages Commission Act provides that ‘the Commission shall recommend a proposition of income growth which should be initiated for wage increase and also examined the salary structure in public and private sector with reasonable features of relativity and maximum levels which are in consonance with the national economy.’

“It is in this sense that we feel strongly that our acceptable minimum wage must be done in such a way that total personnel cost does not exceed 50 percent of the revenue available to each State.

“Governors therefore agreed to pay a national minimum wage of N22,500.”

However, Organised Labour comprising the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the United Labour Congress (ULC) has vowed not to accept anything less than N30,000.

The workers unions which took to the streets across the 36 states and Abuja, yesterday, to mobilise workers, ahead it planned industrial action billed to commence on November 6, accused the Federal Government of slowing down the process of enacting a law to back up new minimum wage for workers and governors of selfishness.

Apart from grounding the nation, organised labour also threatened to stop the 2019 elections from holding should the Federal Government fail to implement the N30,000 recommended by the Tripartite Committee on the National Minimum Wage.

The notice by the Labour centres to call out their members was taken on October 24 after the Labour Minister, Chris Ngige, said no agreement was reached on the figure of what the minimum wage would be.

The minister had said the Federal Government offered N24, 700 and governors N20,000 as minimum wage.

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But the Organised Labour countered that the Tripartite Committee on the National Minimum Wage had since completed its assignment for onward submission of its report to President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Organised Labour rally in Abuja, which took off from the Labour House at the Central Business Area, through Ministry of Finance, Federal Secretariat and terminated at the Villa gate was led by the President of NLC, Ayuba Wabba and other leaders of the two trade centres.

Tagged “National day of mourning and outrage”, the workers who carried placards with inscriptions such as “No minimum wage, No work from Nov. 6”, “Minimum wage of N30, 000 not negotiable”, “Minimum wage will boost Nigerian economy, “Upward review of minimum wage will not trigger inflation”, sang solidarity songs denouncing the roles of the labour minister.

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