The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on Tuesday commended the House of Representatives for adopting N30, 000 as the new National Minimum Wage and the quick passage of the bill.
Mr Ayuba Wabba, NLC President gave the commendation in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), in Abuja, while reacting to the passage of the National Minimum Wage bill by the House of Representatives.
NAN reports that the National Council of State had on January 23, approved N27, 000 as minimum wage for federal, states and the organised private sector.
NAN also reports that the NLC had rejected the N27, 000 minimum wage approved by the Council of State, maintaining that N30, 000 was the figure agreed at the tripartite negotiating meeting as the new minimum wage.
Stakeholders had on Monday engaged the National Assembly at a public hearing to press home their demand of N30, 000 as the new national wage as agreed by the Tripartite Committee.
According to Wabba, the passage confirms the wishes of the people and even the social partners.
”Because during the public hearing, organised private sector confirmed that N30, 000 was mutually agreed, and also all other sectors came in and said that it was N30, 000 that was mutually agreed.
“So, clearly speaking, I think what happened at the National Assembly is just to uphold the wishes of the people and the Tripartite Committee, and also centrally to recognise workers contributions to national development.
“We also plead with the Senate to follow the same path, so that it can be assented to and workers could begin to benefit from it.
“I want to say that in this battle for the new national minimum wage, all of us are winners, nobody is a loser because really the centrality is what matter most,” he said.
Also, Dr Peter Ozo-Eson, NLC General Secretary, said the lawmakers had done what the Nigerian people expect from them.
He said in spite of efforts to support the position of the governors, it was clear from the public hearing that all stakeholders in the minimum wage wanted to be honorable.
According to him, at the public hearing on Monday, it was clear that all the major stakeholders wanted to be honourable by aligning with what was agreed through negotiation at the tripartite committee level.
“We as organised labour maintained this position along with the Organised Private Sector, even the Small and Medium Scale Entrepreneurs said at the public hearing that they were part of the agreement.
‘‘However, it is the National Assembly that makes law, and the House of Representatives had demonstrated that; so, we are happy.
“There is this aspect, which we are not comfortable with, which is the exclusion of those employers who have less than 25 in their employment. We think that is already being abused,” he said.
He added that for instance a situation where secondary schools whose teachers are being paid less than a minimum wage, they will just organise a pay roll and ensure that they are not up to the number captured by the law.
“There are some law chambers paying young lawyers N10, 000, which cannot even pay their transportation and they are hiding under the guise of not being captured by the law,” Ozo-Eson said.
He, however, commended the House of Representatives and also urged the Senate to quickly do the needful by aligning with the House of Representatives on the matter. (NAN)
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