NLC President, Abdulwaheed Omar
• To mobilise against anti-people amendments
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) have faulted the recent vote by the Senate to decentralise the minimum wage regime, describing the move as a charade and travesty on the popular wish of the people.
Labour also questioned what the fate of private sector workers would be if the two regimes (federal and state) of the minimum wage exist.
At a joint press conference in Abuja yesterday, the President of the NLC, Mr. Abdulwahed Omar, said the labour movement was in consultation with all stakeholders on the minimum wage, electricity tariff hike and local government autonomy issue.
"We are in consultations and it is after that we would know the next line of action that will let people know we have been talking. Some people are trying to redefine what the National Minimum wage is. On this issue, we would do the same thing we did during the subsidy struggle," Omar said.
By taking such an anti-worker position while opting to vote for life pension for the leadership of the National Assembly, Omar described the senators as selfish and self-serving.
"Without recourse to history and basic appreciation of global practices, the distinguished members of the upper chambers assumed that a minimum wage is a wage review normally carried out by the federal and state governments oblivious of the historical and global concept of minimum wage being a benchmark to ensure that vulnerable workers, are not unduly exploited by ravenous, selfish and greedy employers and money bags," Omar said.
He added that it was easy for the Senate to go against the wishes of the people due to the electoral processes that brought some of them to office adding that they conducted a one-day public hearing on the issue without inviting labour.
He called on members of the House of Representatives, who he said, have proven to be pro-people not to tow the path of the Senate.
"We call on the House of Representatives as the last bastion of our representative governance to side with the people as they have always done to ensure that the minimum wage remains in the Exclusive list to protect poor working families against the vagaries of thoughtless and rabid neo liberal economic policies," Omar added.
TUC President General, Mr. Bobboi Kaigama, said the labour movement was prepared to mobilise Nigerian workers to ensure that the Senate's will does not truncate the will of the people.