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Minimum Wage

The Organized Labour has warned some governors not to plunge the country into a state of resentment, misery and impoverishment through wrong pieces of advice to President Bola Tinubu.

It also reiterated that the position taken by President Tinubu on the two proposals before him from the final report of the Tripartite Committee on the National Minimum Wage would determine its next line of action.

Recall that while the government team and organized private sector had made an offer of N62,000 on the last day of the meeting of the tripartite committee on the new national minimum wage, while organized labour, comprising the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC and the Trade Union Congress, TUC, demanded N250,000 as a new living wage.

Speaking to Vanguard weekend, the Head of Information of the NLC, Comrade Benson Upah, said the two labour centres would subject whatever figure the President would submit to the National Assembly to the decision of the appropriate organs of the two labour centres.

He also ruled out the option of rushing to strike immediately, explaining that it was not every problem that would be solved with strike, adding that strike was always the last option.

Fielding questions over the agitation in some quarters that President Tinubu had delayed to make a pronouncement on the figure to be transmitted to the National Assembly, Comrade Upah advised Nigerians to tarry a while in making conclusions, contending that the report was sent to the President within the period of Democracy Day and Sallah when some relevant stakeholders had to travel out of Abuja.

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He said: “At the time the tripartite committee submitted the report to the President, there was Democracy Day and then the Sallah break, all of which were practically lumped together for the political stakeholders to travel.

“So, on the length of the time taken for the transmission of the executive bill, we have no issue with that, what we are concerned about is what will be transmitting to the National Assembly.”

Asked what will be the reaction of organized labour if the government decided to go with the N62,000 offered by the government, against labour’s demand of N250,000.

He said “Well, let the government come up with it first and then I even want you to note that there is division in the ranks of the government team, with governors saying they can’t even pay the N62,000.
”So, whatever the government transmits to the National Assembly will determine our mood. Let us wait to reach the bridge before we cross it.”

On the allegation that state governors were the obstacle on the new minimum wage and organized labour’s response to the disposition of the governors to a new living wage, Upah said they (governors) having a negative disposition to a new living wage were in the minority but very vocal.

“In fairness, we will not say the state governors are the obstacle, it is a vocal minority in the ranks of the governors that is projecting the governors as bad and dishonest people and we know that minority group.

”Quite a number of governors have come out to say that whatever they say is the minimum wage, we are ready to pay, quite a number of them have said so.

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“Our message is to the vocal minority in the rank of the governors, giving the governors a bad name, misleading the President and creating a major social problem in the country. We would warn them to retrace their steps, their behaviour in their state has not enhanced the wealth or capacity of their states.

“We will advise them to retrace their steps, instead of giving a piece of advice that is capable of plunging the country into a state of impoverishment, misery and resentment.

“Quite a number of Nigerians have come out to speak publicly. In fact, out of five Nigerians, four have come out to say labour has a very good case, so government should do the needful and shame the devil,” he said.

On the possibility of labour going on strike, if government remained adamant to pay N62,000, Upah said: “We have said again and again that whatever government offers in the final analysis will be subject to the decision of the appropriate organs of the two labour centres.

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