NLC seeks political parties’ intervention over wage dispute
Rejects mass sack, lauds Oshiomhole, others
THE Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has urged the All Progressive Congress and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to call governors under their platforms to order over continued implementation of the minimum wage law.
A statement by the President of the NLC, Wabba Ayuba, in Abuja at the weekend said any attempt to jettison the implementation of the law would be seen as a declaration of war against the working people of Nigeria.
Wabba quoted Chairman of Governor Forum, Abdulaziz Yari, as restating the determination of himself and his colleagues to go ahead with the reduction of the national minimum wage or embark on massive retrenchment of workers.
The NLC Chief urged the ruling APC government and the opposition PDP to call their governors to order as any attempt to renege on the payment of the N18, 000 National Minimum Wage or engage in mass sack of workers in the states will throw the country into unmitigated industrial disharmony and chaos either now or in the New Year.
The NLC declared that the route the governors have chosen to thread would lead to a head-on collision with Nigerian workers and Nigerian people.
Wabba insisted that N18, 000 cannot be said to be enough for a worker and his dependents to survive on for 30 days.
He added: “In simple arithmetic terms, N18, 000 divided by six (6) persons over 30 days amounts to N100 per day per person, or N600 for the six (6) persons per day. This is the amount that is expected to feed six people daily. Then they have to find some amount from the same wage for accommodation, healthcare, transportation, education, and maybe, some change for clothing to cite the basic necessities of daily existence.”
He argued that governors are going away with N500 million, N50 million or less from the monthly federation account sharing not on account of the fall in the price of crude oil alone, but because of the earlier choice(s) the governors made in recklessly mortgaging their states’ revenue through uneconomical borrowing from commercial banks.
He also accused most governors of maintaining unnecessarily bloated political aides, awarding contracts that are clearly several notches above prevailing market costs, dedication of hundreds of millions of annual budget to security votes which are unfortunately more often than not used as slush funds, while expending several millions of naira on their travels and tours that yield literally nothing in return.
He also mentioned criminal pensions running into several millions of Naira that many former governors had, at the point of their exit from power, dishonestly awarded themselves, and which no successor governor has mustered the courage to revoke since this immoral practice began in 2007 or thereabout.
Wabba added: “Since the swearing in of new governors on May 29, 2015, some governors decided to change the official cars of state commissioners from Peugeot 406 to Prado Jeeps. These are not actions of an elite that is conscious of the need to keep the cost of governance down as a result of lean resources due to any economic misfortune.
“The point needs restating that as long as our political elite do not find anything wrong in a local government councillor, chairman, state legislator, state governor, etc, earning uniform wages and allowances across board irrespective of the state of natural endowments of the various local governments and states, no amount of preaching or threat from any quarters will stop us from insisting on an enforceable national minimum wage.”
The central labour body commended the governors of Edo, Rivers, Jigawa and Ekiti states, and other governors who have so far dissociated themselves from the stance canvassed by the Chairman of the Governors’ Forum.
Wabba said the NLC has put all its state councils and industrial union affiliates at a full state of alert to commence mobilisation to ensure that labour movement adequately respond speedily and promptly to any action of the governors to carry out their threat.