NLC, TUC Leaders Speak On New Minimum Wage

As Nigeria embarks on the crucial zonal public hearings for the establishment of a new minimum wage, the Trade Union Congress (TUC) chapters in Ogun and Katsina states have made a significant call for the minimum wage to remain on the exclusive legislative list.

This development emerged on the first day of the hearings, which aim to gather input from various stakeholders on the appropriate adjustments to the national minimum wage in light of current economic realities.

The chairman of the Ogun State TUC, Akeem Lasisi, while refraining from specifying the exact figure the union is pushing for as the new minimum wage, emphasized the importance of adhering to the International Labour Organisation’s conventions regarding labour remuneration.

Lasisi in an interview with Punch stated, “The national will give us the agreed amount but we are demanding that the clause in the last minimum wage that says ‘minimum wage affects only employers of labour with 50 workers should be removed.’

“It should affect everybody. Nigeria must comply with Convention 131 of the International Labour Organisation

“We are also demanding the National Minimum Wage be retained in the exclusive legislative list because a country must have a national minimum wage.

“I am submitting a memorandum at the public hearing. I want the national (TUC leadership) to give us the directive before I release it.”

The Katsina State NLC Chairman, Husseini Hamisu, said the council would present at the public hearing.

He said, “We have been invited and we shall be there. I will not be there but I am sending my representative I’m on my way to Abuja now for another official assignment.”

The state TUC chairman, Muntari Lawal, said he would make a presentation about “a befitting minimum wage for workers.”

He added, “We shall also suggest that the issue of national minimum wage be on the exclusive list.”

The Kwara State NLC Chairman, Muritala Olayinka, who also spoke on the development insisted that workers’ wage should be retained in the exclusive list and be determined by the Federal Government.

He disclosed that the North-Central meeting would be held in Abuja.

He argued, “There should be no difference in the salary paid to the federal and state workers because they buy food and other goods from the same market but allowances should vary from state to state.”

The labour leader suggested that state governors ought to attend the zonal meeting of the minimum wage committee.

Warning against any delayed implementation of the envisaged new minimum wage, Olayinka stated, “We want the implementation of the minimum wage at the federal and the state levels to take off at the same time because we don’t want the state governments to complain that they don’t know what was discussed on the new minimum wage.’’

“We will also give the committee an amount of money that every category of workers would earn based on the economic reality in the country. The government should not tell us that there is no money when it comes to the turn of the workers.

“If the government has the funds to purchase vehicles of about N160m for each Senator and N130m for each member of the House of Representatives, it should not complain that there is no money when it comes to the turn of the workers,” Muritala cautioned.

Commenting on labour demand, the Sokoto State Commissioner for Information, Sambo Danchadi, said the state government had not decided whether the minimum wage should be moved to the concurrent list.

“If I have to give my personal opinion, I would have said move the minimum wage from the exclusive list to the concurrent list to allow governors of each state to determine the minimum wage of their workers.

“I’m sure if you look at it, the economy of this state cannot be compared to that of Lagos state or Rivers state. So, allowing every state to determine their wage will be a good thing.”

For the Kano State Commissioner of Information, Baba Dantiye, the issue of whether the minimum wage should be moved from the exclusive list to the concurrent list has to be brought before the State Executive Council for deliberation.

Dantiye said, “The issue has not come to the Executive Council for deliberation but as soon as a decision is taken certainly it will be made public.”

The labour leaders in Kebbi, Bayelsa, Benue, Kano, Ekiti, Rivers and Delta, have also said they would be at the meeting to present their proposals.

The Kebbi state NLC Chairman, Murtala Usman, noted, “Yes, we have been contacted about the meeting. I am sure you know it is already segregated into zones and we in the North-West, ours is expected to take place in Kano.

“We will hold a meeting on who will present our demands at the meeting. I can assure you that we have gotten the invitation and already looking forward to the meeting,” he added.

The labour leaders in Benue said they would present their demands to the committee during its sitting today.

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