Minimum Wage:Labour Replies Governors , Says States Can't Determine Wage - EDU-BIZNEWS


Friday, June 28, 2024

Minimum Wage:Labour Replies Governors , Says States Can't Determine Wage

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has disagreed sharply with governors on what should be minimum wage for workers in the country, saying  states should not be allowed to determine  minimum wage in their domains as contained in a recent communique of the Southern Governors Forum 

Head of Information and Public Affairs of the union, Benson Upah in a statement made available on Friday, described the comment credited to the governors as not only dictatorial but also undermines the very essence as well as the model adopted for creating a national minimum wage in Nigeria

Labour unions, the government, and the private sector have failed to agree on the new minimum wage for workers, after months of negotiations 

The tripartite committee on the new minimum wage had proposed N62,000 as a new minimum wage which is still being contested by most of the governors who are insisting on N57,000 as against organised labour comprising of NLC and Trade Union Congress TUC  are proposing N250,000.

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu later received the report of the committee, promising to pay what the country can afford after conclusion of his consultation  with major  stakeholders before enacting a bill on a new minimum wage to be sent to the National Assembly for consideration and approval 

In a meeting earlier this week, the Southern Governors’ Forum argued that the minimum wage should not be uniform. States should pay what they can afford, they insisted.

“The Forum discussed the minimum wage issues demanded by labour and unanimously agreed that the minimum wage should be reflective of the cost of living and ability to pay, and each State be allowed to negotiate their minimum wage,” the governors said in a communique.

But the NLC has faulted the governors’ move, saying it “threatens the welfare of Nigerian workers and the national economy”

"The concept of a national minimum wage is not arbitrary. It represents a national wage floor, a baseline below which no worker in the law should be paid. This threshold is a collective agreement that ensures a minimum standard of living for every worker in the law. The governors’ demand to unilaterally determine the minimum wage negates this principle and threatens the welfare of Nigerian workers and the national economy,” the union said.

“It is important to remind the governors that the national minimum wage is not synonymous with the individual pay structures of the states which they implement religiously, reflecting their unique financial capabilities and circumstances. This diversity in pay structures underscores the flexibility that already exists within the system, allowing states to reward their workers in alignment with their financial realities.”

The NLC berated governors and political officeholders for their extravagant lifestyles.

“Why is there no hue and cry when political office holders across the nation receive uniform salaries as determined by Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation, and Fiscal Commission?” the statement asked.

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