House of reps promises to yield to labour demands
Two weeks ago, a bill sponsored by Garba Mohammed Datti representing APC Kaduna to remove the national minimum wage from the exclusive legislative list to the concurrent legislative list passed the first and second reading.
This development led to the nationwide protest by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) who rejected the bill and described it as a design to further impoverish Nigerian workers.
The intention of the bill is to take wage negotiation from under the sole purview of the Federal Government, to allowing states freedom to negotiate a wage with its workers “in line with our federalism.”
Minister of Labour and Employment Dr. Chris Ngige has dissociated the Federal Government from the Bill.
According to NLC President, Ayuba Wabba the bill that seeks to remove the minimum wage from the Exclusive List to the Concurrent List is not accepted because the issue of National Minimum Wage is a standard set by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the first agency of the United Nations(UN) born in 1919 after the first world war.
“What I am reiterating is that: the National Minimum Wage is not a Nigerian standard. It is an international standard.
“Their argument is that because they want federalism, they want the issue of the National Minimum Wage to be removed to the Concurrent List. That is false.
“In the countries of the world, we have 26 federal nations that have minimum wage in their Exclusive List, including the United States. As I speak to you, the minimum wage of America is $10 per hour.
“President Joe Biden came in and the first statement he made was that he is going to review the national minimum wage.
”Let me also say that the argument that it is about federalism is false. Also, the argument about the ability to pay is false.”
Meanwhile, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, who addressed the protesters gave the promise to yield to demand of the organized labour by withdrawing of the bill.