…We’ll resist delay –NLC
Bimbola Oyesola; Magnus Eze
The Federal Government has assured that the new minimum wage would be ready by the third quarter of this year, when the Presidential Committee for its review led by former Head of Civil Service of the Federation (HOSCF), Ama Pepple, would have submitted its report for implementation.
Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, who dropped the hint at the ongoing 40th anniversary celebrations of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in Abuja, yesterday, stated that the committee would finish its assignment in good time.
He promised that the tripartite committee was representative enough to ensure that Nigerian workers were not short-changed, adding that there was no need for workers to grumble further over the new minimum wage.
“I have called the inaugural meeting; we have started and may finish earlier than we said. But this is the maximum time that this implementation will start. Therefore, it is also good that the workers should stop grumbling about it for now. Let us finish our work; you are fully represented in that committee and nobody will cheat the workers of Nigeria as long as some of us are present in that board,” Ngige stated.
On the issues of appointments, discipline and promotions, the Minister said the ministry had handled these issues expeditiously, adding that, “we are very worker-friendly and where differences exist, we have told employers that genuine cases of workers marginalisation should be handled dispassionately.”
While stating that government was working hard to address issues relating to Nigerian workers, despite the tough economic condition, Ngige, however, declared that there was need for mutual respect in the nation’s industrial relations system since an amicable industrial relations environment was required for wealth creation and sustainable development for the good of all citizens.
“Having come this far as a federation of trade unions, we want to congratulate NLC as a body; we want to, as a government, say that we have not rested on our oars to improve the worker’s welfare in Nigeria. Our economy is no doubt facing some challenges. Government is making efforts within available resources to tackle frontally some of these challenges.”
In his address, NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, stated that the congress would resist any attempt by anybody or group to slow down the work of the new minimum wage committee.
Wabba explained that the legitimate demand for the review of the current N18,000 minimum wage was borne out of the current reality of higher cost of living, free fall of the naira, and high cost of goods and services.
“Let me use this medium to serve notice to those who seek to slow down or frustrate the process of review, that they will be resisted in like manner as our predecessors did.
“We are prepared to deal with employers, especially governors, who deny workers and pensioners their salaries and pensions. Workers, pensioners and their families will not give them any further political support, especially their votes,” he warned.