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Labour protest to ground economy to a halt

16 September 2013, 14:05

Lagos - The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) threatened a strike that will ground all economic activities in the country on Tuesday when they protest the Senate’s decision to remove the national minimum wage from the exclusive list of the Constitution.

In a joint statement, TUC President, Bobboi Bala Kaigama and Secretary General, Musa Lawal, urged members and affiliates to be “battle-ready against the obnoxious move” by the Senate.

The statement said all 60 affiliates of NLC and TUC had been adequately informed and mobilized for the protest.

The labour unions said the move by the Senate to remove the national minimum wage from the exclusive list was targeted at eroding the earning power of vulnerable workers.

“We are surprised that in one breath, the Senate proposed decentralization of minimum wage against the will of the people of Nigeria, eroding the earning power of vulnerable workers while they voted for life pension for the leadership of the Senate. It must be noted that in the first place, the very essence of the concept is to ensure that employees particularly the unorganized and unskilled, are not exploited by their employers to the extent that their pay become so low that it creates a poor pool of the working masses. Minimum wage is not a living wage, as such it guarantees mere bare existence for workers in the formal sector -public and private.

It also influences wages in the informal sector, thus minimum wage, as approved to salary increase, affects all,” read the statement.

According to the statement, the National Assembly had legislated on the minimum wage from N125 in 1981, N5 500 in 2001 and N18 000 in 2011.

The unions lamented that the current move to remove the matter from the exclusive list and put it in the concurrent list was instigated by State governors.

“We will never allow this because even if the states legislate for state workers (concurrent), who legislates for the private sector. This is why we must mobilize to kick against the Senate’s uninformed position,” the labour unions stated.

– CAJ News

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