Minimum Wage: NUPENG Joins Organized Labour, Stage Nationwide Protest

By Emmanuel Ajibulu

The Leadership of NUPENG led by the National President and General Secretary, Comrade Williams Akporeha and Comrade Afolabi Olawale joined forces with Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on Wednesday, March 10, 2021 to stage a nationwide protest over proposed amendments to the minimum wage for Nigerian workers.

The protest which was coordinated from the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja was informed by an attempt by some lawmakers at the National Assembly to remove the Minimum Wage from the Exclusive Legislative List to the Concurrent Legislative List.

Members of the organised labour from various members organisations arrived at the venue for the take-off of the protest in various states, most bearing placards with different inscriptions.

The National President of Nigerian Labour Congress, Comrade Ayuba Wabba while addressing the workers at the Unity Fountain in Abuja stated that the right of Nigerian workers to enjoy the minimum wage which is in line with the International Labour Organisation.

He described as shameful, the attempt by some State Governors and members of the National Assembly to short-change the workers.

Wabba said the Bill being sponsored by Garba Datti Muhammad (APC: Kaduna) to amend the minimum wage law must be resisted.

According to him, such an amendment will leave the Nigerian workers at the mercies of State governors whom he says will be paying workers whatever the decision.

The NLC President said rather than seek to reduce the salaries of civil servants, the salaries of political officers including that of the legislators be cut down.

NLC and its affiliates on Wednesday demanded the withdrawal of a Bill that would remove the National Minimum Wage from the exclusive to the concurrent legislative list.

Leading the debate on the Bill at the plenary session of Tuesday, 22 February 2021 for second reading, Hon. Garba Datti Muhammad [sponsor of the Bill], mentioned that the Bill aimes to amend both the Exclusive Legislative List by deleting the words “Prescribing a national minimum wage for the Federation or any part thereof” under item 34 of part 1 of the Second Schedule of the 1999 constitution (as amended) and inserting a new paragraph 21 and 22 into the Concurrent Legislative List such that the Legislative power over the prescription of a minimum wage becomes a concurrent power shared between the National Assembly and the State Houses of Assembly.

Hon. Garba Mohammed would allow both the Federal and state governments to freely negotiate a minimum wage with their workers in line with the nation’s federal system, a move which the protesting workers say does not work in their favour.

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