Labour Embarks on Nationwide Protest over Minimum Wage Act

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By Onyebuchi Ezigbo

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Trade Union Congress and their allies will today, Wednesday embark on a nationwide protest against alleged move by some members of the National Assembly to remove the Minimum Wage from the Exclusive Legislative List to the Concurrent Legislative List.

In a notice distributed yesterday by the NLC, the leadership of the organised labour said workers will mobilise from the Unity Fountain at 7:30 am to the National Assembly today.

While expressing labour’s opposition to the planned amendment, the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba said there will be a national protest commencing from March 10 (today) in Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and especially the National Assembly.

He said the decision was taken at an emergency National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of NLC held in Abuja.

Wabba said that the attention of the entire working class in Nigeria had been drawn to a bill sponsored by Hon. Garba Datti Mohammed representing Sabon Gari Federal Constituency in Kaduna State, which seeks to move minimum wage from Exclusive list to concurrent legislative of the constitution.

He said that the NLC NEC is also kicking against another bill to establish State Judicial Councils.

Wabba said that the NLC views the move to amend minimum wage law as politically motivated.

Wabba said that: “After careful deliberations of the issues, the NEC decided that there will be a national protest commencing from March 10 in Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and especially the National Assembly. NEC resolved that the protest will be concurrently hold in all the 36 states of the federation and to the different State Houses of Assembly across Nigeria”.

He said that the protest is to make a strong statement that Nigerian workers “would not lie los and allow hard fought rights which are global standards to bastardised by opportunistic and narrow minded politicians”.

Wabba said that apart from creating minimum wage variations across states, it will introduce politics into the wage determination and negate the collective bargaining principle.

“It will lead to a hostile industrial space with diminished productivity and national security implications.

“In the light of the foregoing, the NEC, called on President Muhammadu Buhari not to allow fifth columnists masquerading as politicians to derail his government by railroading the legislature into removing the national minimum wage from the legislative list to the concurrent list,” he said.