NLC Opposes Removal of Minimum Wage Law From Exclusive List

nlc-logoThe Nigeria Labour Congress said Sunday it has noted with concern efforts by the Senate to remove the national minimum wage law from the Exclusive List in defiance of reason, popular opinion and protection of the of the weak and the vulnerable.
“The removal will unnecessarily expose Nigerian workers, especially, those in the low-income bracket with grave implications for security, and national well-being, as most state if given the latitude, will pay wages as low as one thousand Naira per month in spite of the relative enormous resources available to them”NLC President Abdulwahed Omar said.
“This fear is justified or underscored by the reluctance or refusal of of them to implement the eighteen thousand Naira minimum wage law. Even for of them that implemented the law, it took a heroic struggle.
“Beside the issue of wages, lies other equally serious challenges of legislation, and administration of labour relations justice system as contained in item 34 , Exclusive Legislative List, Second Schedule, 1999 Constitution (as amended). It will be an invitation to confusion, chaos, possible anarchy in the polity and judicial nightmare.
Accordingly, the Nigeria Labour Congress said it is strongly opposed to the putting on the Concurrent List the minimum wage law.
“It will be recalled that in our memorandum to the National Assembly on the review of the 1999 constitution, we had canvassed for the retention of the law on the Exclusive List for the following reasons:(1) To ensure a minimum national standard as in most civilized economies; and to (2) Secure protection for the weakest and most vulnerable workers.
“We had explained that even in countries with shared jurisdiction as in the United States, the minimum wage prescribed by the states is much higher than the national one”Omar said
He added, “We also advised that the issue of the minimum wage protection for workers should not be confused with the issue of fiscal federalism as the Chairman of the Governors’ Forum was oft heard to say that the prescription of a national wage by the federal government violates the principle of true federalism.
“We still firmly subscribe to this position as nothing has changed. If anything , we would want the Senate to appreciate the fact that in spite of the unjustifiably-resisted national minimum wage law of N18, 000, Nigerian workers remain among the least paid in the world, especially when juxtaposed with national currency wages and salaries based on purchasing power parity.
“Living costs have more than quadrupled wiping out the initial gains of the wage increase as inflation gallops on digits and food, utility, transportation and accommodation costs shoot through the roof. Compounding the situation is the rising army of dependents due to the unemployment.
” In the light of the foregoing, we on the Senate to retrace its steps and be on the of reason, people, justice and history by ensuring that the minimum wage law remains on the Exclusive List. We make this in the of industrial peace and harmony, enhanced and national security”NLC President said.

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