By Abdallah el-Kurebe, Editor
The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) has condemned the minimum wage proposition of N22,500 by the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF).
The condemnation is contained in a stated signed and issued by the President of the Congress, Comrade Ayuba Wabba Wednesday.
According to Wabba, NGF is not a negotiating body on the issue of minimum wage but political body formed for the convenience of the governors.
The full statement:
Our attention has been drawn to a communique issued by the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) after its meeting on 30th October, 2018 claiming that State Governors can only pay N22,500 as the New National Minimum Wage.
First, we wish to state that the Nigeria Governors Forum is not a negotiating body but merely a political organization for the convenience of state governors. The tripartite committee from inception sent letters to each state government to send in their memoranda as their contributions to the new national minimum wage negotiating process. 21 States sent in their memorandum quoting figures.
Second, the demand of organized labour is not N30,000. Our demand is N66,500. N30,000 is the compromise figure arrived at the end of negotiations by the tripartite partners – Government, Employers and Organized Labour. The new minimum wage was a product of intense negotiations that lasted for almost one year.
The Governors had six representatives on the Tripartite Committee – one state governor represented each of the geo-political zones. The representatives of the state governors were part and parcel of the work of the negotiating committee from beginning to the end. It is important to note that the National Minimum Wage is not an ALLOCATION to workers. It is a product of NEGOTIATION by the tripartite partners. The unilateral pronouncement by governors of N22,500 Minimum Wage is an abuse of every known principle of industrial relations, labour laws, processes and international best practices.
Third, the NGF erroneously stated that the population of salaried workers is 5% of the general population in Nigeria. This 5% represents the nation’s workforce including teachers, health workers, police personnel, military men and women, engineers, drivers and other workers laboring for the development of our country. In Finland with far less population than Nigeria, every classroom is taught by four teachers. That is a country that understands the critical place of human capital to development. Of what benefit are roads, rails and bridges without human beings to run them?
Fourth, we are also very concerned about the huge pressure being brought upon the Organized Private Sector (OPS) to compromise their stand on the N30,000 compromise New National Minimum Wage. This pressure by the enemies of the Nigerian people was what led to the recent statement by NACCIMA that sought to cast aspersion on an already negotiated New National Minimum Wage. We believe that the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA), a reputable body that represents organized labour, will present the fact as it is.
We, therefore, condemn unequivocally the communique issued by the Nigeria Governors Forum on October 30, 2018 as an attempt to undermine the authority of Mr. President. This position should be equally condemned by all.
Our demand is that the constitutional, legal and morally right step to take at this point is for the Chairman of the National Minimum Wage Tripartite Negotiating Committee to submit the report of the already concluded National Minimum Wage negotiations to Mr. President for transmission to the National Assembly for consideration and passage into law.
We wish to reiterate our position adopted at our National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of 23rdOctober, 2018 that any figure below N30,000 will not be accepted by us. We call on our members to continue to mobilize in preparation for the commencement of an indefinite strike on the 6th of November, 2018, if by then necessary steps have not been taken to adopt the recommendations of the Tripartite Committee.
Comrade Ayuba Wabba, mni