NLC to Buhari: Beware of anti-workers’ govs
The Nigeria Labour Congress and pensioners union have advised President Muhammadu Buhari to beware of members of Nigeria Governors’ Forum whom they described as anti-workers.
They alleged that such governors were working to frustrate the NLC agreement with the Federal Government on the payment of N30,000 as the new minimum wage.
The governors had, after the NGF meeting on Wednesday, said states would have to downsize their workforce to be able pay the amount.
But reacting to the NGF’s statement, the NLC accused some of the governors of deliberately pauperising civil servants in their states, alleging that 21 state governors had earlier sent their memoranda with figures that showed that they could pay the new minimum wage.
In a statement signed by the NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, the union said the NGF had no constitutional right to speak on behalf of every state in Nigeria. It accused the forum Chairman, Abdulaziz Yari, who is also the Governor of Zamfara State, of championing a threat against the Nigerian workers.
We will vote out anti-workers govs – Congress
The statement added that labour union members would ensure that anti-workers governors were voted out in 2019.
The statement read, “The attention of the NLC, the organised labour, the working class, pensioners and their families has been drawn to a statement credited to the Chairman of the NGF, Yari, threatening to sack workers on the account of the new national minimum wage of N30,000.
“The 1999 Nigerian Constitution (as amended) recognises individual states in the collective bargaining process, not NGF. The states, like the other social partners, have already defended their positions during negotiations at the National Minimum Wage Tripartite Negotiation Committee vis-à-vis counter proposals.
“Yari should desist from using the platform of the NGF to seek political relevance. His tactics of blackmail against workers are already time worn and the stench is already offensive. We shall continue to consolidate our efforts to strengthen already existing platforms and structures to give teeth to our resolve to vote out anti-labour governors and politicians in the forthcoming 2019 general election.”
It added, “Organised labour and Nigerian workers call on President Buhari to be wary of some people, especially in the NGF because they are wont, for selfish and personal reasons, to present him (Buhari) as an anti-worker President and by extension orchestrate anti-Buhari sentiments in the populace.”
NLC claimed that some state governments even proposed higher wage during the negotiation for the minimum wage.
“It would interest Nigerians to know that the new national minimum wage of N30,000 was a product of intense and robust negotiations at the National Minimum Wage Tripartite Negotiation Committee that lasted for one year between November 2017 and November 2018. State governments were represented by six states, one state from each of the six geo-political zones of Nigeria. A letter was sent by the tripartite committee to every state to send in their memorandum as their input to the wage negotiations. It is on record that 21 states responded by sending memoranda with figures.
“Subsequently, public hearings were conducted in each of the geopolitical zones. The state governments were all represented at the zonal hearings and made their input. The demand of organised labour was N66,500. From the memoranda submitted to the NMWTNC by state governments, there were proposals by some states to even pay higher than the negotiated national minimum wage of N30,000.
“This agreement took on board prevailing economic indices and factors, especially as outlined in Convention 131 and Recommendation 95 of the International Labour Organisation Convention on Criteria and Procedure for Collective Bargaining, especially towards arriving at a National Minimum Wage for any country,” NLC stated.
It added, “The statement of Mr Yari purportedly for the NGF, one year after the inauguration of the NMWTC, is certainly an afterthought and has no place in the collective bargaining process. We understand that Mr Yari Abdulaziz’s position is at the instance of a few anti-worker governors. We are not in any doubt that many worker-friendly governors are ready to pay even higher than the negotiated N30,000 minimum wage.”
The NLC said Yari’s position on the issue would not intimidate workers, while challenging governors over their personal earnings.
“We propose that since a few political office holders are bent on enslaving Nigerian workers with peanuts mislabelled as salaries, we urge such elected public officials to subject their humungous salaries and allowances, reputed to be among the highest in the world, pro rata with the minimum wage they want to force down the throats of Nigerian workers. We, therefore, urge each state governor to go to their respective states and inform workers and their families their individual positions on the new national minimum wage of N30,000,” noted NLC.
NLC state chapters attack governors
Also, state chapters of the NLC rejected the governors’ position that only Lagos State could pay the N30,000 minimum wage.
The NLC leaders in states including Ogun, Nasarawa, Taraba, Oyo, Cross River and Imo, in separate interviews with The PUNCH, berated the governors, saying they would not accept anything less than N30,000.Punch