NASU lauds National Assembly for averting dual minimum wage
•Cautions govt against fuel price increase
If not for the patriotism of the National Assembly, dual minimum wage of N27, 000 and N30, 000 would have been foisted on Nigeria, the Non-Academic Staff Union and Associated Institutions (NASU) has said.
The General Secretary of the union, Peters Adeyemi, who made this observation in Abuja, also cautioned the Federal Government against increasing the price of petrol and upward adjustment of Value Added Tax.
Adeyemi also lauded the both the Senate and House of Representatives for standing up for the Nigerian workers by rejecting the N27, 000 figure that was inserted in the bill that was presented to lawmakers by the presidency. He said: “If not for the National Assembly, we would have been having a law for the first time that ahs two figures as presented by the Federal Government. We have never had a situation where the Federal Government would present two different figures as minimum wage in Nigeria. This government created a very bad history by presenting N27, 000 and N30, 000 separately. But we thank the National Assembly for demonstrating the will by standing for the Nigerian masses. Today, we have one harmonised N30, 000 all thanks to the leadership of the National Assembly.”
The NASU Scribe lauded the Nigerian Employers Consultative Association (NECA) for demonstrating uncommon zeal by standing by the labour movement to ensure that the N30, 000 figure prevailed at the end of the negotiations.“I would like to thank the private sector employers particularly Nigerian Employers Consultative Association (NECA).
“We do know that it is not only members of NECA that make up the private sector but also members of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), and NACCIMA. But NECA played a wonderful role in the entire process. There is no doubt that without the support of NECA, there wont be any bill of N30, 000 for the President to assent to. I have also listened to the Director General of NECA where he was appealing to his members to ensure they pay the N30, 000,” he stated.
Adeyemi also warned that the presidential assent to the bill must not be seen as an opportunity by the Federal Government to contemplate sourcing for funds through increment in the pump price of petrol. His words: “Government must know that it cannot give us minimum wage with one hand and take it with another hand through petrol price increment. The labour movement will resist such move with all the blood in our veins.
“We are also saying absolute no to increase in the Value Added Tax (VAT). Labour is very vigilant and will resist any increment in whatever form.
“While we appreciate this new wage, government must know that in terms of purchasing power, this N30, 000 is less than N18, 000 of 2011. Going by our exchange rate, the Naira to the dollar shows that Nigerian workers have not gotten any increment in the real sense of it. In 2011, N18, 000 could buy three bags of rice, but now can N30, 000 buy three bags of rice? So, I don’t think there is too much to celebrate.”
Adeyemi, who is also the President, Public Service International (PSI), Africa Region, said labour is ready to tackle recalcitrant employers that would be unwilling to implement that law especially state governments.
“We must not overlook the fact assenting to the bill is first step. While labour may not likely have problem with the Federal Government paying N30, 000, it is always a battle getting the state governors to do the needful even after the President’s assent. We should not forget that the last minimum wage that was assented by former President Jonathan never saw the light of day in some states especially the state of the Chairman of the Governors Forum, Zamfara state. So, this for me is a major step. But it is the beginning of battle between labour and the state government. I am also very sure that labour has the capacity and what it takes to engage those state governments that would be unwilling to implement the law,” he said.