The National President of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Com. Ayuba Wabba has described as “distraction” opposition by some state governors to the proposed new minimum wage of N30,000.
Instead of allowing it to distract the entire workforce across the country, Wabba said the NLC would rather focus on achieving the task and urged his members to be resolute and vote out any governor who refuses to obey the law after it is signed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Many governors have said that their states cannot pay the proposed N30,000 minimum wage.
Speaking yesterday in Ado Ekiti during the 75th birthday of the former Chairman of the Medical and Health Union of Nigeria (MHUN), Ekiti chapter, Com. Johnson Ogunseeyin, Wabba described the governors’ position as an afterthought.
He recalled that six governors were represented on the tripartite committee set up by the federal government to discuss the issue of minimum wage and that it took Labour over one year to arrive at a “midway wage of N30,000”.
The event was attended by all Labour leaders in the state, led by the NLC Chairman, Comrade. Ade Adesanmi.
Wabba said, “I consider the governors’ position as a trick that is not new to us. There is no agitation about Labour that did not experience such, but we consider this an afterthought.
“In case they don’t know, Labour started with a proposal of N66,000, so N30,000 was a midway approach to resolve the crisis. We didn’t just request for it, but we considered the high inflation rate, the poor purchasing power of the naira among other variables.
“While we commend about six governors for saying they will pay N30,000 minimum wage, we challenge those saying they can’t pay to go to their states and tell workers and pensioners that they won’t pay.
“This agitation started last year November, even when the review was supposed to take place in 2016. The governors were asked to send memoranda and 21 states complied. They all had inputs. They even had six representatives on the negotiating committee, so I don’t know what they were talking about after the report has been submitted.
“In case the governors don’t know, the police, DSS and Nigeria Army that are providing security for them and the Nigerian populace are involved in this minimum wage issue. So, we consider their refusal to comply as a way to divert our attention.
“The governors may not care about workers because they are getting humongous security votes. Councilors who have no certificates receive more than Ph.D. holders. I want to believe this is a class contestation and we are up to the task.
“We want to tell the governors that we won’t succumb to their antics. We will receive nothing less than N30,000 minimum wage for our people and we have directed workers to vote out any state governor or his successor who says he is not ready to pay”.
Wabba said the celebrant, Comrade Ogunseeyin was one of the few patriots and unionists who fought for improved welfare for Nigerian workers.