Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) President Ayuba Wabba has reiterated the stance of the union over the enforcement of the new national minimum wage.
Wabba made this disclosure on Tuesday night, March 16, during a stakeholders’ meeting with members of the National Assembly.
The NLC president noted that what the workers were asking for was that the country respect the International Labour Organisation (ILO) convention on minimum wage, which Nigeria is a signatory to.
He dismissed the argument that the inability to pay a uniform wage was the reasons for the demand that the minimum wage should be transferred to the Concurrent Legislative List.
According to him, the issue of a minimum wage is different from having a uniform wage for workers.
Wabba said: “The fact is that the minimum wage has never been given to workers on a platter of gold. Jigawa, Yobe, Borno started implementing the minimum wage first before others. Rivers State did not until we went there to protest. So, it is not about resources but priority.
“Some of the governors gave us information that they were contacted on this issue and how it was being driven. So, we are working on the basis of information. We are ready to defend our position.
“If we are to start the restructuring of wages, I think it should start from the political class. When salaries were reviewed by 50 per cent in 2011, those of political office holders were reviewed by 800 per cent. So, if it is about the ability to pay, it should start from that stage. Our own is only minimum wage while some are collecting maximum wage.”
In his remarks, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila said the legislature would avoid anything that could harmd Nigerian workers.
The Speaker assured Labour that the House would do due diligence on a Bill seeking to remove the minimum wage from the Exclusive Legislative List to the Concurrent Legislative List.
He also urged Nigerian workers to stop embarking on strikes.
“Please, don’t go on strike again. Please, no more strikes. Help us tell your people that we are for them and we will always be for them. We will not do anything that will hurt the Nigerian people.
“We will do what we need to do and what will be of importance to us. You know our members and you know that we will do the right thing. But you can’t stop from bringing a Bill. Beyond this Bill, there will be other Bills that we will not like and those that don’t have any merit will die a natural death, especially with an argument like this.”