From James Ojo, Abuja
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) vowed not to accept the N27, 000 recommended as minimum wage in the Executive bill before the National Assembly.
The bill sent to the parliament by President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday has passed second reading in both chambers of the National Assembly.
But reviewing the development, NLC at the end of its Central Working Committee yesterday rejected the offer of N27, 000 and insisted on N30, 000 that was agreed upon by the tripartite committee.
The union said that it will mobilise workers to the National Assembly on Monday so at persuade the lawmakers to reject the figure on N27, 000 and insert N30, 000.
Briefing the media at the end of the meeting, which lasted over two hours, NLC President Ayuba Wabba said that the meeting deliberated on one item, which was the issue of the transmission of the national minimum wage bill to the National Assembly.
He said: “The meeting reviewed the whole situation including the fact that N30, 000 was agreed at the tripartite negotiating meeting to be the minimum wage.
“It was out of place and procedure for that figure to be reduced to N27, 000. Going by the convention of the International Labour Organisation, the figure that was agreed by the tripartite committee cannot be changed by any of the parties except through a process. Government as an employer cannot unilaterally change the figure,” the meeting noted.
The issue on ground according to the NLC was about law and procedure, noting therefore that the CWC has frowned on that and rejected the issue of reducing the figure.
“We still maintain that we stand on the outcome of the tripartite committee.
We will mobilise our members and engage the National Assembly on the issue.
“The negotiation must be respected and NASS should do the needful. We have put our members on the alert that if that is not done, certainly we will also mobilise to take appropriate action that is desirable to protect and ensure that the tripartite process be respected.
“That has been the process according to the provision of ILO convention on minimum wage mechanism.
“We have also agreed that on Monday, we will mobilise to the House of Representatives during the public hearing on the bill to make sure that the right thing is done.”.
Labour stated that the N30, 000 was a compromised position in the context of today’s economy of Nigeria, and should be commended, because as far back as 2011, the N18, 000 minimum wage was equivalent to $150, today, the N30, 000 is less than $100.