There are strong indications that the proposed minimum wage for workers may not be implemented soon as members of the Committee on National Minimum Wage set up for the new salary are yet to finally agree on the minimum wage amount.
The President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba on Monday in Abuja disclosed that after 10 months of negotiation between labour leaders and government representatives, no figure had been agreed upon by the negotiating parties.
According to him, while the Labour committee was able to complete its own assignment the governments’ representatives had failed to deliver, thereby making the commencement date of the implementation of the proposed minimum wage uncertain.
The labour leader clarified: “However, just before we conclude, the Minister of Labour spoke at an occasion as a representative of the Federal Government, that they needed to go and consult before arriving at a figure.
“We felt that since this committee was inaugurated in November and everybody was aware that all stakeholders needed to tidy up whatever consultations they needed to do and make sure that we are able to work within that timeline.
“Clearly speaking, they are not prepared to produce a figure by that date. But our report has been completed. What is left is just to agree on a particular figure as minimum wage. All the parameters to be used to arrive at a figure are there. I can say clearly that states have sent in memoranda
“In fact, 21 states sent in memorandums, with about 12 quoting figures, NECA has submitted a figure, organised labour has submitted a figure. With this new development, they are saying that they want to consult, we could say that it is not a fair process if somebody is saying at this point that he has not consulted”, Wabba added.
He hinted that the organised labour would meet soon and issue a statement to ensure that the interest of Nigerian worker was not in any way undermined.
Specifically, Wabba confirmed that labour leaders had called for organ meetings where they will brief members, adding that it is in public domain that both the government and Labour agreed that the timeline must be respected.
While noting that government representatives believe that September is not feasible, he stressed that the organized labour was committed to respecting the timeline and that is why the labour leaders left everything they were doing to do a good job.
Wabba noted: “All the parameters you can think of have been considered and the report is ready. But the only thing missing is the issue of the figure.”
The NLC president recalled also that individual states had quoted figures and every state was given the opportunity to make its own presentation, adding that a letter was written to every state by the Secretariat to send in their memo, making their inputs and 21 of them actually made inputs.
He expatiated further: “You are aware of the figures quoted by organised labour. We have enough data to do justice to the work and we have actually done justice to the work. I am telling you that this is what has happened.
“So, there was enough time for everybody to make input. This should have been consummated but some people are saying they need time for consultation.
“We thought that should not have been the situation, because of the importance of the issue to Nigerian workers and the workers can also not continue to be patient”, the NLC President added.