The Nigeria Labour Congress has rejected the N27,000 adopted by the National Council of State as the new national minimum wage for workers.
The NLC General Secretary, Dr Peter Ozo-Eson, made this known to the News Agency of Nigeria on Tuesday in Abuja. According to him, the council has no jurisdiction to determine another amount after a Tripartite Committee had submitted its report.
The Federal Government had said it would pay N24,000 as against organised labour’s insistence that employers must pay N30,000 as recommended by the committee headed by a former Head of Service of the Federation, Ms Amma Pepple.
However, at Tuesday’s meeting, which was presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, the NCS pegged the minimum wage at N27,000 across the states after reviewing the positions of all the parties.
The private sector is at liberty to pay any amount to workers, so long as it is not below N27,000. But, on its part, the Federal Government said it would pay workers N30,000.
The membership of the council comprises the President (who is the Chairman); Vice-President (who is the Deputy Chairman); all former Presidents/former Heads of the Government of the Federation; all former Chief Justices of Nigeria; President of the Senate; Speaker of the House of Representatives; all the governors of the states of the Federation; and the Attorney-General of the Federation.
In his response to the latest development, NLC General Secretary, Dr Peter Ozo-Eson, said, “It is abysmal of government to be delaying the submission of an Executive Bill to the National Assembly and by wrongfully adopting N27,000 through the council of state.”
Ozo-Eson, however, said the NLC had called an emergency National Executive Council meeting for Friday to weigh on the deadline given to the government within which to submit an executive bill to the National Assembly.
The NLC general secretary added that the Federal Government was only projecting a shutdown of the economy with its latest action.
“This is because workers should not be held responsible for any development after its NEC meeting on Friday,” he said.
Also, the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, has rejected a recommendation that the national monthly minimum wage be raised to N27,000 from N18,000, its spokesman, said on Tuesday The TUC, which represents senior civil servants, said agreeing a minimum wage was a product of negotiations and that N30,000 had been agreed on and not N27,000.
Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige has stated that with the approval of the N27,000, a bill would be sent to the National Assembly on Wednesday (today) to get the necessary legal backing for the new wage regime.
The minister added that though the National Assembly had said that it would proceed on vacation till after the elections, the relevant committees on wage matters would continue to sit to work on the new wage for urgent passage.
The minister added, “States or organisations that are able to pay more than N27, 000 can do so; it depends on their financial capacity. For example, the Federal Government has resolved that its own workers will not get anything less than N30, 000. I am saying that the Federal Government had decided even before now that they would top up their own minimum wage to bring it in consonance with N30, 000.