The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) has taken a swipe at Nigerian politicians for being insensitive to the plights of the workers in the country.
Speaking during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, NLC President, Ayuba Wabba said the minimum wage in 1981 was more than $125, lamenting that it is currently less than $60.
“The first minimum wage in 1981by Shagari was more than $125. Today it is less than $60 because of the dwindling fortune of our economy,” he said.
“Instead of even appreciating, celebrating and paying workers, this crop of politicians, those that are not paying are not people that mean well for Nigerians and our system.”
The NLC leader said the current index in Nigeria cannot sustain an average worker, noting that a bag of rice costs N30,000.
While noting that workers are in a ‘very sorry situation’, Wabba said some state governments do not see the welfare of their workers as a priority.
On the minimum wage, the labour leader threatened a shutdown in states where governors are yet to implement the policy.
He added, “Today, more than one-third of the states are not paying. Some actually implemented for Levels 1-6. It is only about lack of resources, it is about whether they are committed to workers’ welfare.
“If not, how can a state like Rivers be talking about workers’ welfare up till now. This is the real issue. Those governors that are good, are not in the same category.
Wabba’s remarks come few hours after the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, faulted governors yet to pay the new minimum wage to workers in their states.
Ngige who spoke during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics, said that any employer paying its employee below N30,000 was doing so in contravention of the law.
“If you read the Act well, you will see the applicability of the Act. The applicability is that all parts of the Federation (Section II); Section III also says N30,000 shall be paid, the operating word is shall.
“It does not give room for picking and choosing, it is a must. The state governors that are not paying are breaching the law of the land,” the minister said.
President Muhammadu Buhari signed the Minimum Wage Repeal and Re-Enactment Act, 2019 into law on April 18, 2019.