Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) yesterday urged President Muhamadu Buhari to expedite action in transmitting an executive bill for the N30,000 minimum wage to the National Assembly.
President of the NLC, Ayuba Wabba, said the continued delay in acting on the agreed N30,000 minimum wage report submitted to him by the National Minimum Wage Tripartite Committee is stretching the workers’ patience to their limits.
The National Minimum Wage tripartite committee put in place by President Buhari to review the current N18,000 minimum wage had presented its report to the president two weeks ago, but the state governors said they can’t pay N30,000.
Speaking at this year’s Harmattan School of the Congress holding in Abuja, Wabba said workers are now running out of patience on the implementation of the new wage.
He described as unfortunate the position of some governors who are opposed to the N30.000 new minimum wage, “but are spending billions of dollars in the name of security votes which they can’t account for.”
According to the NLC boss, it was not true that once the Minimum wage is increased there would be an inflation.
For instance, he said in 2008, the salaries of political office holders was increased by 800 percent but it didn’t cause inflation.
He wondered why a mere N30,000 for workers can cause inflation.
“We don’t know why the president has not transmitted the executive bill, the report of the tripartite committee to the National Assembly for an enactment into law, because workers patience is running out,” he said .
Regarding the position taken by the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, Wabba said: “We have maintained that any governor that said he can’t pay the N30,000 should go to his state, gather workers and tell them they are spending billions of dollars in the name of security votes but once it comes to payment of N30,000 minimum wage, they are saying workers are just 20 percent.
“How can they say that because without workers which include health workers, police, army and others, most politicians can’t sleep. Minimum wage is not a favour but a right of a worker because the law states that after 30days, a labourer is worthy of his wage”.
The NLC president also insisted that labour would press on for the payment of two years arrears since the act stipulated that the national minimum wage shall be review every five years.
Labour movement had maintained that the national minimum wage Act 2011 was due for review in 2016.