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Aremu cautions against removal of wages from exclusive list

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Labour leader and member of the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission (NSIWC), Issa Aremu, has criticised the controversial bill seeking to move minimum wage from the exclusive to concurrent list in the constitution.

House of Representatives member for Sabon Gari Federal Constituency in Kaduna State, Garba Mohammed, sponsored the bill. According to Aremu, the bill is provocative, considering the damage it will inflict on workers under the precarious economic situation in the country.

Addressing journalists in Kaduna, yesterday, Aremu, who is also the Vice President of Industrial Global Union (IGU), representing 50 million workers worldwide, advised lawmakers and governors in the country to renew their social contract with their constituencies, adding that the bill showed “a scandalous disconnect” between some lawmakers and the people they claim to represent.

He said 21 years after uninterrupted democratic rule in the country, it was “unacceptable that some legislators lack sufficient knowledge of 1999 Constitution,” which he said “rightly puts critical factors of development like labour, capital and land on the exclusive list, with a view to promote a planned and balanced economic development of Nigeria.”

However, he urged all elected and appointed political office-holders to avail themselves the knowledge of labour issues, while regretting that “recent labour issues have become all-comers affair.”

Aremu said: “Since the second Republic and with the enactment of the inaugural Minimum Wage in 1981 as demanded by NLC’s Charter of Demands, it’s a settled issue that national minimum wage determination is a federal executive affair.”

He described the clamour by some governors for exclusive right to determine minimum pay below the national minimum as a disgrace, arguing that “it shows collapse of governance at sub-national levels compared to the Second Republic.”

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