- Nigerian governors have been warned against non-compliance with the newly proposed national minimum wage
- The warning to the governors was given by the organised labour
- According the labour union, state governors have no rights under the constitution to reject a negotiated national minimum wage
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has called on governors of the 36 states in the country to comply with the proposed national minimum wage of N30,000.
Admonishing the governors, the national president of the NLC, Ayuba Wabba, said the struggle for a national minimum wage in Nigeria can only be achieved through workers’ continuous protests and agitations.
Daily Trust reports that Wabba said Nigerian workers have never gotten a raise in minimum wage on a platter of gold.
Comparing the salaries of political office holders to that of an average Nigerian worker, the NLC president said it is unbelievable that governors could argue that any attempt to compel payment of the planned new minimum wage will force the states into bankruptcy.
He noted that, “the revenue formula should be reviewed to give more money to the states from the Federation Account, and labour should agree to downsizing of the workforce."
Also speaking, a former general secretary of the NLC, John Odah, said state governors have no rights under the constitution to reject a negotiated national minimum wage.
According to Odah, the minimum wage is under federal exclusive list and whatever is arrived at is binding on them as federating states. He also noted that since 1981 when minimum wage was legislated into law by the National Assembly, the state governments have always complied because the issue is an important one.
Odah said: “Through 1981, after the Sumonuled NLC embarked on a national strike asking for N300 minimum wage and then president Alhaji Shehu Shagari eventually settled with the NLC and a bill was sent to the national assembly where a minimum wage of N125 was legislated, it was paid across board in all the states."
Even under the military, one of the things that the NLC under Pascal Bafyau, where the N125 minimum wage was upgraded to N250, it was during the time of General Babangida and again it was paid across board in all the states.
When Oshiomole became NLC president, he was going round the states to ensure that the then minimum wage of N3000 which had been approved by the military under Abdul Salami Abubakar government was paid. When Obasanjo was elected president, we got a new national minimum wage of N5,500, it was implemented across the states."
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He further warned that any state governor who refuses to pay the agreed minimum wage would be breaking the law.
Meanwhile, Legit.ng had previously reported that the Nigeria government has said it will take the issue of the new national minimum wage to the council of state for discussion on Tuesday, January 22.
The minister of labour and employment, Chris Ngige, while speaking at the National Economic Council (NEC) in Abuja at the Presidential Villa made the announcement.
Ngige said discussion around the amount to be paid Nigerian workers nationally is still ongoing and would end on Tuesday, during a meeting with the council of state.
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