The brouhaha over the N30, 000 minimum wage controversy continued yesterday, as the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) dismissed the sack threat by the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF), if forced to concede to the workers’ demands.
According to the union, the threat is not new, insisting that workers are standing firm on the figure agreed by the tripartite negotiation team as the new national minimum wage.
Governor of Zamfara state, who also chairs the NGF, Abdul’aziz Yari, was quoted to have said on Wednesday after the forum’s meeting that N30, 000 minimum wage was impracticable.
He said the proposed figure could only be paid if labour would agree to downsize its workforce across the country “or federal government itself accedes to the review of the national revenue allocation formula,” adding that only Lagos state would be able to meet the workers’ demand. .
Wabba dismisses threat
But in a reaction yesterday, President, Nigeria Labour Congress, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, advised the governors to sacrifice their “huge salaries and allowances” to pay the proposed new minimum wage.
Wabba said: “We propose that since a few political office holders are bent on enslaving Nigerian workers with peanuts mislabelled as salaries, we urge such elected public officials to subject their humongous salaries and allowances, reputed to be among the highest in the world, pro rata with the minimum wage they want to force down the throats of Nigerian workers.
“We, therefore, urge each state governor to go to their respective states and inform workers and their families their individual position on the new national minimum wage of N30, 000.”
According to him, the bargaining process for a new minimum wage under the 1999 Constitution only recognises individual states and not the NGF, noting that the states had already defended their positions during negotiations at the National Minimum Wage Tripartite Negotiation Committee.
”The 1999 Nigerian Constitution (as amended) recognises individual states in the Collective Bargaining Process NOT Nigeria Governors Forum. The states, like the other social partners, have already defended their positions during negotiations at the National Minimum Wage Tripartite Negotiation Committee vis-à-vis counter proposals,” he further stated.
While urging the workers to remain firm, the labour leader asked Nigerians to vote out any political party that refuses to pay the new national minimum wage of N30, 000.
“We hereby reiterate our directive to Nigerian workers to vote out any politician or political party that refuses to pay the new national minimum wage of N30, 000.
”We shall continue to consolidate our efforts to strengthen already existing platforms and structures to give teeth to our resolve to vote out anti-labour governors and politicians in the forthcoming 2019 general election.
”The leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress and Organised Labour urges workers to remain steadfast and firm on our rights to decent wages and improved living conditions. To the oppressors, we have only one answer for you, we will never sleep on our rights!” he said.
The NLC boss further warned Governor Yari to “desist from using the platform of the
Nigeria Governors Forum to seek political relevance. His tactics of blackmail against workers are already timeworn and the stench is already offensive.” he said.