NLC: We Won’t Succumb to Governors’ Antics over Minimum Wage


••Insists on implementation of N30,000 minimum wage

Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti

Amid opposition by some governors, the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) yesterday said it would not succumb to the antics of the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) to frustrate the implementation of N30, 000 minimum wages.

Rather than taking issues with the governors, the NLC said it would focus on achieving the task, thus urging his members to be resolute to vote out any governor who breaches the law after President Muhammadu Buhari signs.

The National President of the NLC, Comrade Ayuba Wabba made the remarks in Ado-Ekiti yesterday at the 75th birthday of the former Chairman of the Medical and Health Union of Nigeria (MHUN), Ekiti chapter, Com. Johnson Ogunseeyin.

Besides the NLC president, Ogunseeyin’s 75th anniversary was attended by all labour leaders in the state, led by the NLC Chairman, Comrade Ade Adesanmi and Comrade Blessing Oladele, all of whom testified to a life of struggle the celebrant lived during his days in service.

At Ogunseeyin’s 75th anniversary, Wabba described the governor’s position as an afterthought, declaring that the position canvassed by governors that the states could not abide by N30, 000 minimum wages was a distraction that would not distract the entire workforce across the country.

Wabba insisted that the labour unions would focus on achieving the task, thereby urging his members to be resolute to vote out any governor who defies the law after signing into law by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The governors after the report proposing N30, 000 minimum wage was submitted to President Buhari, had made their position known that many of the states lack the financial wherewithal to pay such amount.

He said six governors were represented on the tripartite committee composed by the federal government to argue the issue of minimum wage and that it took the labour over a year to arrive at a midway wage of N30, 000.

On this ground, Wabba said it was inhuman for governors “to turn around and say they have no capacities to pay. I consider this governors’ position as a trick that was not new to us. There was no agitation about labour that never experienced such, but we consider it an afterthought.

“In case, they did not know, labour started with a proposal of N66, 000. So, N30, 000 was a midway approach to resolve the crisis. We did not just request for it, but we considered the high inflation rate, the poor purchasing power of naira among other variables.

“While we commend about six governors for saying they will pay N30, 000 minimum wages, we challenge those saying they cannot pay to go to their states and tell workers and pensioners that they will not pay.

“This agitation started last year November, even when the review was

supposed to take place in 2016. The governors were asked to send

memoranda and 21 states complied. They all had inputs. They even had six representatives on the negotiating committee, so I did not know what they were talking about after the report had been submitted.

“In case the governors did not know, the police, DSS and Nigeria Army that were providing security for them and the Nigerian populace are involved in this minimum wage issue. So, we consider their refusal to comply as a way to divert of our attentions.

“The governors may not care about workers because they are getting

humongous security votes. Councilors, who have no certificates, receives more than a PhD holder. I want to believe this is a class contestation and we are up to the task.

“We want to tell the governors that we will not succumb to their antics. We will receive nothing less than N30, 000 minimum wages for our people. We have directed workers to vote out any state governor or his successor who says he is not ready to pay,” the NLC president explained.

Wabba stated that Ogunseeyin, who marked his 75th anniversary yesterday, was one of the few patriots and unionists who fought for improved welfare for Nigerian workers.

The State Head of Service, Dr. Gbenga Faseluka urged Nigerian workers to consider productivity as a watchword, saying this would help them in fighting for their rights when the need arises.