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Minimum Wage: States can’t go back – NLC

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WITH the December 31 deadline for commencement of payment of the N30,000 new national minimum wage, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) is insisting that National Minimum Wage law is binding on all parties to the agreement.

NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, said this at a one-day review meeting on the New National Minimum Wage between  state council chairmen and  state governors, stating that no party has right to renege.

According to him, there is need for state governors to ensure speedy conclusion of negotiations on implementation of the Act since President Muhammadu Buhari signed the New Minimum Wage Act, every state governor was bound to respect the new wage structure and negotiate with labour to decide what the consequential increase should be.

“All of us are aware that from the day the president signed the minimum wage bill into law it becomes enforceable. It can be enforced through court of law, and certainly, there is no excuse for any state to say that it is not going to respect a law that is actually based on the constitution.

The national minimum wage is actually a constitutional issue; so clearly, it is about respecting our laws and also respecting international convention and procedures. But importantly, it is to respect the principles of tripatism, social dialogue in addressing industrial relation issues.

So clearly, you can see that we are providing this guide, so that we can also play our role effectively as National Labour Congress, as workers’ organisation, to be able to see that there is seamless implementation,” he said.

But briefing newsmen on the issue, Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, said that federal government had finished every spade works to give effect to the December 31 deadline.

Ngige said it would also cover payment of arrears on consequential adjustments of the National Minimum Wage, adding that approval was also given for payment of all outstanding financial implications of the consequential adjustments as worked out by the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission, beginning from April 18.

“Council today approved for us that the financial implications be worked out by the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission, as consequential adjustments should take effect from April 18, the date the new national minimum wage came into being.

“The Council also approved for us that the financial implications be worked out and the attendant payments completed on or before December 31.

“Council further directed that the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, through the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation, should effect all these payments as scheduled before December 31,”  he said.

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