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NLC: Minimum wage not imposed on states

The President of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba, says it is not correct to say labour imposed minimum wage on states. He…

The President of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba, says it is not correct to say labour imposed minimum wage on states.

He said the N30,000 approved as  minimum wage was the national benchmark agreed upon by all stakeholders, including the 36 state governors.

Wabba spoke in Lagos on Wednesday during the South-West zonal public hearing on the review of the 1999 constitution taking place in Lagos for Lagos, Oyo and Ogun State.

Daily Trust reports that there has been a raging controversy over the minimum wage between the states and the organized labour, with Governors agitating for the removal of minimum wage from the exclusive legislative list to enable states fix their minimum wage.

But the NLC President while presenting the memorandum of the NLC at the public hearing restated that minimum wage cannot be removed from the exclusive list as such runs contrary to the many International Labour Organization (ILO) conventions which Nigeria has ratified.

Besides, he said the minimum wage does not apply only to workers in government establishments as it covers those in the organized private sector.

Wabba said at a time many countries are proposing an increase in the minimum wage, Nigeria would be a laughing stock by reducing the extant N30, 000 minimum wage.

He said, “Therefore, all countries of the world, in true federalism, the issue of the Minimum Wage is contained in the exclusive list, America and Germany are examples. America is a true federation but the issue of fixing minimum wage is in the federal law.

“Once it is fixed, states can only implement higher or negotiate, it cannot be brought downward. Let us not also forget, minimum wage and labour is not only for government establishments, it cuts across private, public and the informal sector and that is why only the National Assembly can make regulations in respect of that issue.”

He stated that all the governors were represented in the several meetings held to fix the current minimum wage.

“There was a public hearing of all geo­­-political zones. It was in consideration of the ability to pay and also the fact that we need to look at other factors that N30,000 was agreed.

“So now at this point, to say that it was imposed on the state, this information is not correct because it is a national minimum wage.

“As I speak today, the whole of Europe is trying to have one unified minimum wage because they realize that there is liberation of labour from countries were they have minimum wage on better package to countries where they have lower ones,” the NLC President said.

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