PGF DG alleges distortions in NLC minimum wage debate

 Dr Salihu Lukman, Director-General Progressive Governors Forum (PGD), has said that there are lots of distortions in the current minimum wage debate being championed by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).

He said this in a statement on Friday in Abuja, adding that there was need to correct the distortions to set the records straight.

According to the PGF , the NLC campaign on retaining the minimum wage on the exclusive list was based on deliberate distortions of facts.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the NLC is campaigning the retention of minimum wage in the exclusive legislative list under the amended 1999 Constitution.

The NLC claims that moving minimum wage from the exclusive legislative list to the concurrent list would contravene provision of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention, which Nigeria is a signatory.

Lukman, however, noted that ILO convention no. 30 of 1928 Minimum Wage Fixing Machinery Recommendation provides the guiding principles the determination of minimum wages in all countries.

He said that the convention never stipulated that the process should be the exclusive preserve of federal authorities.

The PGF added that the convention allowed flexibility each country to apply the guiding principles to its circumstances through consultative processes, taking into consideration all interests in the country’s labour market.

Lukman said one of the distortions that needed to be corrected was that the proposal to transfer minimum wage to the concurrent legislative list was not to stop the payment of N30, 000 minimum wage.

“Although, many state governments and private employers are having difficulty implementing the N30, 000 minimum wage.

“We should separate the problems associated with implementing agreements from the bigger challenge of correcting wrong procedure used in fixing minimum wage in the country.

“Problems of implementing agreements can be addressed with reference to invoking provisions of Nigerian arbitration laws, which is ILO convention 30 of 1928 recommends,’’ he said.

He noted that as a nation, we had arbitration law and wondered why the leadership of organised labour was not taking advantage of provisions of the laws to enforce implementation of minimum wage law.

Lukman stressed that it was important that these distortions were corrected, adding that the country`s must be insulated from distortions and falsehood.

He added that the struggles of Nigerian for a just and better Nigeria should not be based on falsehood and distortions.

“The earlier NLC leadership retraces their steps and return to the path of truth and democratic engagement to win the support of Nigerians, including elected representatives, the better.

“Political bullying is antithetical to and is counterproductive to the struggles for decent wage,’’ Lukman said.

He noted that globally, in compliance with the provisions of the ILO convention, approaches were adopted by ILO member countries in fixing minimum wages.

This, he said, included the committee method which involved government setting up committee to undertake enquiries and make recommendations for fixing minimum wage and the notification method.

He explained that the notification method was based on government publishing proposals in official gazettes to inform affected persons. (NAN)