•Labour threatens votes-for-minimum wage
The Federal Government revealed, yesterday, that the 36 states of the Federation got N1.91 trillion bailout funds after oils shocks of 2015/2016 and has also, directed the tripartite committee on the national minimum wage to hasten action.
The committee is expected that work on the new salary regime would be over by the third quarter of this year.
Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo disclosed these at the 2018 May Day celebrations in Abuja, yesterday.
Osinbajo also said government will soon send an Executive Bill to the National Assembly on the New National minimum Wage.
He insisted that improving the welfare of workers has been the priority of the present administration and that, “that was why we evolved mechanisms to bail out all the 36 states of the federation, to the tune of N1.91 trillion, in recognition of the shortfalls in their finances, arising from the oil shocks of 2015/2016.”
He added that that was done without recourse to party affiliation, to enable them settle backlog of salaries and pensions of workers.
The vice president noted that a worker deserves his wage and added that the economic realities hasmade it imperative that the new minimum wage must be anchored on the plank of social justice, equity and fairness.
“The argument for a national minimum wage, therefore, cannot be faulted because minimum wage is the minimum amount of compensation an employee must receive for putting in his or her labour and as such should be anchored on the principles of social justice, equity, and fairness. We believe that those who can pay above the social protection floor are free to do so, as many have been doing in many states and sectors of the economy.
This administration has no intention of presiding over the dismantling of the gains organised labour secured for its members almost four decades ago. It is my hope, therefore, that the Tripartite Committee comprising government, labour, and the private sector will expedite its assignment to enable the federal government present an Executive Bill on a new National Minimum Wage to the National Assembly; for passage into law, as soon as possible,” Osinbajo said.
But, Organised Labour has threatened to deploy its numerical strength in 2019, if government, at any level, refuses to pay the new minimum wage currently being negotiated.
The extant minimum wage is N18,000.
Workers also warned against any attempt to renegotiate their demand for N66,500 as the national minimum wage in the country.
President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba, issued the threat in his May Day message to Nigerian workers, in Abuja, yesterday.
“We are battle ready against public and private organisations that would refuse to conform to the new minimum wage,” Mr Wabba threatened.
“At our disposal is the power of our votes! We shall ensure that governments that refuse to pay the new minimum wage will not receive the support of the working class, pensioners and their families.”
Wabba also urged government to approve the minimum wage law and ensure all employers in public and private sectors paid the N66,500 package without further delay.
Earlier, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, pledged that lawmakers would pass the minimum wage bill if it is presented to them by the executive.