Nigeria News
Labour Threatens Strike over Decentralisation of Minimum Wage

Bobboi-Bala-Kaigama TUC

The Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) has vowed to join other affiliates of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to down tools following the decision of the National Assembly to move wages and other labour issues from the Exclusive Legislative List to the Concurrent List under the current review of the 1999 Constitution.

In a statement issued in Lagos on Wednesday and signed by its National President, Mr. Bobboi Bala Kaigama, and the Secretary-General, Mr. Alade Bashir Lawal, the union called for the total resistance of the move by the federal lawmakers to further impoverish Nigerian workers by outlawing the meagre national minimum mage through the back door.

It stated: “We urge the trade union movement, the civil society groups, religious leaders, royal fathers, and other well-meaning Nigerians to prevail on the National Assembly to reverse its decision to decentralise wages in the interest of peace in the country.

“It is surprising that the National Assembly wants to complicate the security challenges in the country by inviting millions of Nigerian workers to take to the streets by its insensitive decision to decentralise wages.”

The ASCSN chieftains lamented that the monthly take home pay of each federal lawmaker is about N30 million, yet they were at pains that Nigerian workers receive N18,000 monthly as the minimum wage which is about $109 per month.

It added that the federal lawmakers are entitled to innumerable allowances such as hardship, furniture, wardrobe, recess, accommodation, utilities, domestic, entertainment, personal assistant, vehicle maintenance, leave, severance allowance, etc.

“It is also on record that the Nigerian federal lawmakers are the highest paid in the world earning more than the President of the United States of America.

“We urge the state assemblies not to join the National Assembly in its war against Nigerian workers. They should therefore retain wages and other related labour issues in the Exclusive Legislative List,” the statement added.

The ASCSN leaders added that apart from their jumbo pay, a Nigerian senator receives N45 million as constituency allowance while a member of the House of Representatives gets N27 million quarterly allocation.

“It is important to note that Nigeria does not belong to political office holders alone but to all Nigerians including workers,” the union emphasised.

ASCSN pointed out that while the salaries of federal lawmakers are centrally fixed by the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), they are insisting that state governments should fix the minimum wage so that the governors can pay as low as N5,000 monthly  to helpless workers or no salary at all.

“It must be emphasised that all countries of the world have a national minimum wage which must be paid by all employers to their workers.

“Indeed the ILO Convention 131 of 1970, of which Nigeria is a signatory, requires member countries to institute a national minimum wage below which no employer should pay,” the statement added.

The union stated that a national minimum wage applies to both the public and private sectors of the economy and wondered if Nigerian lawmakers want every employer to fix his or her own minimum wage.

It accused the federal lawmakers of being self-centred, adding that they had refused to listen to wise counsel last year because when they tried to remove wages from the Exclusive Legislative List to the Concurrent List, Labour and the House of Representatives rose against it.

“It is therefore baffling that after the National Conference saw the wisdom of retaining wages and other labour issues in the Exclusive Legislative List, the National Assembly has once again decided to heat up the polity and take the country ten steps backwards.

“But this time around it is not going to be business as usual. Labour will mobilise millions of Nigerian workers including other oppressed citizens as well as the international community to resist this negative action of Nigerian federal lawmakers because this country belongs to all of us,” the union vowed.

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