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Minimum Wage: Labour Gives FG December 31 Ultimatum

Labour on Thursday said the federal government has before or on December 31 to send the tripartite committee report on N30,000 minimum wage to the National Assembly.

The three labour centres, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the United Labour Congress (ULC) took the decision after a joint meeting in Lagos.

They gave the ultimatum following President Muhammadu Buhari’s statement that a “high powered technical committee” would be set up to device ways to ensure that its implementation did not lead to an increase in the level of borrowing.

Mr Buhari spoke at the presentation of 2019 Appropriation Bill to the National Assembly in Abuja on Wednesday.

The NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, who address journalists after the meeting, said setting up a technical committee could not be a condition for passing the minimum wage report to the National Assembly.

According to Mr Wabba, the organised labour cannot guarantee industrial peace and harmony in the country if the wage report was not passed for implementation on or before December 31.

“We reject in its entirety the plan to set up another `high powered technical committee’ on the minimum wage. It is diversionary and a delay tactics.

“The national minimum wage committee was both technical and all-encompassing in its compositions and plan to set up a technical committee is alien to the tripartite process.

“It is also alien to the International Labour Organisations’ conventions on national minimum wage setting mechanism,’’ he said.

The labour leader said issues on payment of minimum wage was a law that was universal, citing that other African countries like, Kenya, Ghana and South Africa had increased their minimum wage this year.

“If you increase minimum wage, you are increasing the purchasing power of the economy which will help to reduce inflation rather than increase it,’’ Mr Wabba said.

He urged workers to be vigilant and prepare to campaign and vote against candidates and politicians who are not willing to implement the new minimum wage.

Joe Ajaero, President of ULC, also called on the government to send the report to lawmakers so that the implementation of the new minimum wage report would begin without delay.

Mr Ajaero said all affiliate members of the organised labour had been informed to be alert ahead of the December 31 notice if the government failed to submit the report.

The labour unions had planned to go on a nationwide strike on November 6, following the federal government’s delay to accept the N30,000 minimum wage agreement.

(NAN)

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