Teddy Nwanunobi, Abuja
Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) yesterday warned that it would not take it easy with the incoming government of the President- elect, General Muhammadu Buhari, regarding the national minimum wage. NLC President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, gave this warning in his message to the Nigerian workers on the occasion of the Workers Day in Abuja. Wabba particularly observed that the first direct symptom of the prevailing economic crunch and the continuous devaluation of the Naira have dealt devastating blows on the purchasing power of the Nigerian worker. He said that the NLC would table a new national minimum wage request before the Buhari-led government.
“This is unacceptable! The last national minimum wage of N18,000, which was negotiated in 2010, is clearly no longer of any meaningful economic value to workers as the inflationary trends engendered by the continuing devaluation of the Naira has made the minimum wage now grossly inadequate. “The above situation, plus the fact that the five-yearly circle provided for periodic review of the national minimum wage, is almost at hand, we wish to use this May Day to give notice that we shall formally table a request for a new national minimum wage for the consideration of the tripartite social partners, as soon as the incoming government is sworn in. “This has become pertinent, given (the) current economic realities.
We also wish to draw the attention of state governments and other employers of labour yet to discharge their obligations under the current national minimum wage regime to immediately ensure that all minimum wage issues are addressed. “We wish to use this opportunity to remind those agencies of government and other private sector employers not complying with the provisions of the 2011 National Minimum Wage Act that they are breaking the law of the land. A government or corporate entity that refuses to obey the law of the land is surely expressing its preference for anarchy,” Wabba warned. Meanwhile, the Senate President, Senator David Mark, has cautioned the NLC to guard against incessant strikes. Mark, in his message of solidarity to the Nigerian workers, however, urged them to uphold the indomitable spirit and resilience that have propelled the nation to greatness.
He also urged them to sustain the hands that produce the wealth of the nation just as he told employers of labour to reciprocate through improved welfare. “On this day, as always, I salute the indomitable spirit of the Nigerian worker. I commend your resilience and steadfastness that have kept the nation alive. “I am to remind you to always make productivity the cornerstone at all times. That way, you will be contributing to the survival of the nation . “To this end, I earnestly request that we review our strategies and penchant or resort to industrial action at will. I am convinced that dialogue remains the best road map towards resolving any disagreement no matter how complicated. “Resort to strike action always carries far reaching political and economic consequences that unarguably retard growth. As a people, we must think otherwise in the interest of our nation. Development can only be achieved if labour and employers work along the same line. “Whatever we can do or contribute individually or collectively to make Nigeria a better place should as a matter of necessity be our goal and mission,” Mark said.