Its N30,000 or Indefinite strike, Labour blows hot as FG denies approval of minimum wage
The Federal Government said on Wednesday the N30,000 minimum wage proposal contained in the report of the tripartite committee set up by the Federal Government was still a recommendation and had not been approved.
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who spoke with State House correspondents after the weekly Federal Executive Council, said President Muhammadu Buhari would still study the report presented to him on Tuesday by the Chairman of the committee, Amal Pepple, before taking a decision on it.
Pepple had while presenting the report on Tuesday disclosed that the committee recommended that the national minimum wage be increased from N18,000 monthly to N30,000.
She also said her committee drafted a bill that the Federal Government would send to the National Assembly to effect the change.
A section of the media had reported that Buhari accepted the report and endorsed the recommendation of N30,000 as the new minimum wage.
Mohammed, however, said Buhari would only take a decision and make his view known after considering the report.
“I think it (N30,000) was a recommendation. Mr President will consider it and will make his views known in due course,” the minister said.
When pressed further, Mohammed said, “I said a recommendation was submitted. Mr President will get back to the committee after he has studied the recommendation.”
On whether the revenue-sharing formula would be reviewed if the new minimum wage was approved to enable the states to pay, the minister said, “Once again, like I said, a recommendation has been made and in responding to the recommendation, all these views will be taken into consideration.”
The committee’s report will still be presented before the National Economic Council and the Council of State before a decision will be made.
Once a decision is taken, the Federal Government will send an Executive Bill to the National Assembly.
It’s N30, 000 or strike, labour declares
Meanwhile, Organised Labour has threatened to go on strike if the Federal Government fails to approve and implement the N30,000 minimum wage recommended by the tripartite committee.
The General Secretary of the Trade Union Congress, Mr Musa Lawal, said this while reacting to comments by the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, that the report of the tripartite committee was a mere recommendation.
Lawal said Organised Labour decided to shelve its planned strike because the government had expressed the willingness to accept the report of the tripartite committee.
He warned that anything short of the full implementation of the report would be met with stiff opposition.
The TUC general secretary said, “They can say anything they want to say. Why were they panicky before? Why did they agree to the N30, 000? They can call it a mere recommendation or whatever they want to call it but the important thing is that at the end of the day, if we do not get the N30,000, they know what we will do.”
Attempts to speak with the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Ayuba Wabba, proved abortive as he did not respond to telephone calls on Wednesday.
The statement said the actions of the President and his deputy were a testament to how badly the country had treated its workforce over the last three years.
It said it was during same period that Nigeria was officially declared the world headquarters for extreme poverty by the World Poverty Clock and the World Economic Forum.
“We can only change this by paying our workers a living wage as opposed to the starvation wages now paid to them by the Buhari administration,” the statement added.
The Atiku campaign office called on the President to keep faith with the agreement, which he said his government freely reached with labour and affirm the new minimum wage.