Labour to present new minimum wage proposal to govt
Oshiomhole to join protest against wage reduction
THE two labour centresin the country has unfolded plans to present a new minimum wage proposal to the Federal Government for promulgation into law, the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba, has disclosed.
Speaking at the sixth quadrennial national delegates conference of Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU) in Abuja, Wabba said both the NLC Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) are currently working on the modalities on wage structure that would be in tune with the prevailing economic realities in the country.
He declared that the declaration of inability to pay in the face of dwindling fortune of the country by some governors would not deter labour from demanding a new minimum wage.
He argued that beside the fact that the National Minimum Wage Act is due for review after five years it become law, the current purchasing power of the Naira is making the N18, 000 minimum wage unsustainable.
The struggle to ensure the continuation of the payment of the N18, 000 by government has received a major backing of the Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole.
The Edo State Governor has vowed to lead protest by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) against any governor that attempts to reduce national minimum wage of N18, 000.
His words: “I have told my fellow governors that when the going gets tough, everybody will answer his father’s name. I am not and I will not support any government, any governor, federal or state that misunderstood the problem to focus on the weakest link. “Be assured that you can count on me. If you want to organize protest, I will join. I will not only join to protest against refusal to pay minimum wage, but to press for the idea of minimum wage to be sustained.”
The immediate past President of NASU, Ladi Illiya has blamed ad-hoc nature of negotiations for the incessant industrial strikes in tertiary institutions.
“The trend is responsible for non-implementation of agreements reached, thereby being one of the root causes of persistent industrial actions in the education sector. In order to correct this anomaly, I call on the Federal, State governments to put in place statutory collective bargaining machinery for tertiary institution sector,” she explained.
The General Secretary of NASU, Peters Adeyemi, decried the reckless lifestyles of Nigeria’s political leaders in time of plenty.
His words: “The point to be made is that those who are supposed to be leaders must see beyond today. The problem that is confronting our country today is as a result of the recklessness of the leadership. The recklessness of our leaders is also because we Nigerians are docile people. If not for these docility and recklessness, we had enormous resources and very strong signals to diversify our economy and also save money during the time of plenty.”
He also extended the blame to members of the National Assembly who have now emerged the highest paid lawmakers in the world.
“Even the recklessness is catching the lawmakers in the National Assembly. Within a limited period of time, the budget of the National Assembly has been on upwards movement. In fact, they now assume the position of highest paid legislators in the entire world followed only by their Kenyan counterparts. This is absolute madness. Therefore, the crisis in the economy we now have is brought upon us by the recklessness of our elites and they must fix the mess. Now, they are turning to downtrodden workers who are paid N18, 000 in 30 days to minimize expenses? That we will resist with the last drop of our blood,” he said.
He insisted that labour will not only resist any wage reduction, but will push for increment, saying the move by the governors to preempt labour demand for new wage structure would not work.
He added: “They want to pre-empt us by saying they can’t pay N18, 000 so we don’t ask for increment. But we will ask for it. What is N18, 000 for the dollar? It is less than 100 dollars. Can we say to the rest of the world that there are workers in Nigeria that earn less than 100 dollars in 30 days? Who will be proud to say that in any international forum? The more the Naira is devalued the more the Naira is worthless. Why won’t workers demand increase in their pay? As at the time were negotiating that minimum wage, the exchange to the dollar was slightly above 140. But today, one dollar exchanges for more than N240.”