Bimbola Oyesola

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the United Labour Congress (ULC) are demanding that decisions on a new minimum wage be concluded by August, rather than the September deadline set by the Minister of Labour and Employment,  Senator Chris Ngige.

Labour’s position was in reaction to reports credited to Ngige, last week, that only a report on the minimum wage is expected in September.

Regardless, organised labour is insisting that the present negotiation by the tripartite committee be concluded in August; to enable payment commence in September.
NLC President,  Ayuba Wabba, said the leadership regarded the minister’s comments on the non-feasibility of september as take-off for the new minimum wage was inconsistent with the fervour so far demonstrated by the tripartite committee.

Said Wabba: ”The minister’s stance is also at variance with the declaration made by Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, when he represented Mr. President at this year’s May Day celebrations.

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“Osinbajo promised Nigerian workers that government is committed to ensuring that the issue of the new national minimum wage is concluded and delivered” and noted that the minister, who had once been a civil servant, should know the importance of monthly salary to workers.

“Our concern is “who is the minister of Labour speaking for? Nigerian workers want to know who sent Dr. Chris Ngige on this nebulous errand. On whose side is the minister of Labour on the upward review of the national minimum wage?

“Our position was that we would expedite action at the level of the tripartite committee on the minimum wage and ensure that discussions and negotiations are concluded by August 2018 so that Nigerian workers can start benefitting, as quickly as possible, from the new, national minimum wage.”

Speaking in the same vein, ULC President, Joe Ajaero,  said it is a ploy by government to continue holding the lives of Nigerian workers and their dependants in abeyance.

“It is a practice in shifty expediency; to buy more time for government and employers, thus extending the poor wages which they have subjected Nigerian workers to over these seven years,” Ajaero said.