Minimum wage: Organised Labour issues Dec. 31 deadline

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The organised labour has given the Federal Government up to Dec. 31 to send the tripartite committee report on N30,000 minimum wage to the National Assembly.

The decision was taken in Lagos on Thursday at a joint meeting of three labour centres—the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the United Labour Congress (ULC).

The organiseed labour said the ultimatum followed President Muhammadu Buhari’s statement that a “high powered technical committee” would be set up to device ways of ensuring that the implementation of the new wage did not lead to an increase in the level of borrowing.

Buhari spoke at the presentation of 2019 Appropriation Bill to the National Assembly in Abuja on Wednesday.

The NLC President, Mr Ayuba Wabba, who address newsmen after the meeting, said that setting up a technical committee could not be a condition for passing the minimum wage report to the National Assembly.

According to Wabba, the organised labour cannot guarantee industrial peace and harmony in the country if the wage report was not passed for implementation on or before Dec. 31.

“We reject in its entirety the plan to set up another `high powered technical committee’ on the minimum wage. It is diversionary and a delay tactics.

“The national minimum wage committee was both technical and all-encompassing in its compositions and plan to set up a technical committee is alien to the tripartite process.

“It is also alien to the International Labour Organisations’ conventions on national minimum wage setting mechanism,’’ he said.

The labour leader said that issues on payment of minimum wage was a law that was universal, citing that other African countries like, Kenya, Ghana and South Africa had increased their minimum wage this year.

“If you increase minimum wage, you are increasing the purchasing power of the economy which will help to reduce inflation rather than increase it,’’ Wabba said.

He urged workers to be vigilant and prepare to campaign and vote against candidates and politicians who are not willing to implement the new minimum wage.

Mr Joe Ajaero, President of ULC, who also spoke on the development said that all affiliate members of the organised labour had been put on alert ahead of the Dec. 31 notice if government failed to submit the report.

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