The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) rose up from its Central Working Committee (CWC) and warned the Federal Government that no party among the tripartite group, can unilaterally change the N30,000 national minimum wage agreed by the tripartite committee.
To this end, the Congress rejected the N27,000 included in the National Minimum Wage Bill transmitted by President Muhammadu Buhari; on the advice of the National Council of State; to the National Assembly and declared that it was not acceptable to the workers.
President of NLC Comrade Ayuba Wabba who briefed the media after the meeting said the figure that was agreed by the tripartite committee cannot be changed by any of the parties, except through a process.
He described it as out of place and procedure for the N30,000 a figure that has been agreed and adopted by the tripartite groups to be reduced to N27,000.
Frowning at the development, Wabba pointed out that Government as the employer of Labour cannot unilaterally change the figure.
On the next line of action, the NLC President stated that Labour would mobilize its members and engage the National Assembly.
He insisted that the tripartite negotiation must be respected and the National Assembly should do the needful.
If this failed, he warned that Labour had already put their members on the alert to take appropriate action that is desirable to protect and ensure that the tripartite process is respected.
Comrade Wabba said: “The meeting deliberated on one item which is the issue of the transmission of the national minimum wage bill to the National Assembly. The meeting reviewed the whole situation including the fact that N30,000 was agreed at the tripartite negotiating meeting to be the minimum wage.
“It was out of place and procedure for that figure to be reduced to N27,000. Going by the convention of the International Labour Organisation, the figure that was agreed by the tripartite committee cannot be changed by any of the parties except through a process.”
He added: “The Government, as an employer cannot unilaterally change the figure. This is about law and procedure. Therefore, the CWC has frowned on that and rejected the issue of reducing the figure. We still maintain that we stand on the outcome of the tripartite committee.
“We will mobilize our members and engage the National Assembly on the issue. The negotiation must be respected and the National Assembly should do the needful. We have put our members on the alert that if that is not done, certainly we will also mobilize to take appropriate action that is desirable to protect and ensure that the tripartite process is respected.
‘That has been the process according to the provision of ILO convention on minimum wage mechanism. We have also agreed that on Monday, we will mobilise to the House of Representatives during the public hearing on the bill to make sure that the right thing is done.
“The National Assembly members represent the people and we call on them to respect the outcome of the tripartite process. Importantly, when you look at N30,000, it is a compromised position in the context of today’s economy of Nigeria.
“We should be commended. As far back as 2011, the N18,000 minimum wage was equivalent to $150, today, the N30,000 is less than $100. We juxtapose this argument within the content of reality and demand that what was mutually agreed after all other factors have been put into consideration, including the ability to pay, must be respected.”
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