NLC, TUC Protest Nationwide Over Planned Removal of Minimum Wage From Exclusive List - Penangle | News Portal in Nigeria
Tue. Jun 18th, 2024
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The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Oyo State Chapter, on Wednesday, joined its counterparts nationwide in a peaceful protest to the State House of Assembly over proposed bill before the National Assembly intending to remove minimum wage from the exclusive legislative list.

The protest which is being coordinated from the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, is said to be holding following attempts by some lawmakers at the National Assembly to remove the Minimum Wage from the Exclusive Legislative List to the Concurrent Legislative List.

Members of the Organized Labour from various organizations led by the Oyo state NLC chairman, Comrade Kayode Martins, arrived at the Oyo State House of Assembly at about 9:00AM, bearing placards with different inscriptions to express their plights.

In his speech, Comrade Martins, appealed to the Oyo State House of Assembly to think about the consequences of the move by the
National Assembly to remove the Minimum Wage from the Exclusive Legislative List, and appealed to the lawmakers not to embrace the bill.

Comrade Martins maintained that the implications of transferring minimum wage from the exclusive legislative list to the concurrent legislative list would be a license for state governors to drag the country back to the era of ridiculous slave wages which in the past precipitated multifarious industrial crisis in different parts of the country.

He further stressed that, “it could lead to exclusion of the private sectors from the concept and rationale of a national minimum wage.”

“The private member bill seeks the transfer of the national minimum wage from the exclusive legislative list to the concurrent legislative list. The bill has been referred to the ad-hoc committee on constitution review.” He explained.

He described the bill as a negation of efforts of the Nigerian working class in the past 40 years to free itself from the cruelty of slave wages and terrible working conditions.

“We appeal to your good judgment to take account of the malevolent scheme pushed by some retrogressive elements in the House of Representatives. We urge you to guide the members of the House of Assembly aright.”

“Honourable Speaker, if this anti-labour bill that seeks to restrict the nation in her effort to reduce poverty and inequality is presented to you, we appeal to you to kindly refuse passage. This is a fight for survival and livelihood of workers,” Martins added.

Also in his remarks, the TUC Chairman, Comrade Ogundiran said: “They want to throw Nigerian masses back to the slavery era. They want to create more unemployment despite the fact that we have more of structural unemployment than employment. They have forgotten that minimum wage is an international issue and Nigeria became a signatory in 1961 and it was domesticated in 1981.”

“They want to give Nigeria a bad name and we say no. It is a war between the political class and the Nigerian masses. Our leaders should think outside the box.” Ogundiran concluded.

Addressing members of the Organized Labour, the Deputy Speaker, Oyo State House of Assembly, Abiodun Fadeyi, who described the bill as dead on arrival, assured NLC that the assembly will scrutinize the bill on the floor of the house when it is brought to them.

Fadeyi also described the bill as obnoxious, anti-workers and not-too-friendly, stressing that the Oyo State House of Assembly, as a citizen-friendly chamber, will only listen to the yearnings of the people before making any decision.

“I want to assure you all that the obnoxious bill, the anti-workers bill, the not-too-friendly bill that has gone through the second reading at the National Assembly will not fly here at the Oyo State House of Assembly.”

“The Oyo Assembly is citizens friendly, it is part of our legislative agenda to listen to the yearnings of the people before we take any decision.”

“We will discuss it on the floor of the Oyo State House of Assembly when it is brought to us. I assure you that the bill may be dead on arrival.”

“We urge the National Assembly to take security issues from the exclusive list and give power to the state governments to be able to manage it and see whether state governors will not generate more money from their states.” Fadeyi added.

Also speaking, Governor Makinde’s Assistant on Labour Matters who is also the immediate past NLC chairman, Barrister Bayo Titilola-Sodo said the government in the state would not be a party to any anti-workers, anti-people and anti-masses policy.

He said: “We know Governor Seyi Makinde’s government is workers-friendly and people oriented. Some would have wanted an elitist governor that will pander to the request of the elites.”

“Using the track record of this government, I can assure you that the government of Oyo State will not be a party to any anti-workers, anti-people and anti-masses policy.”

“Being a workers-friendly, people-friendly and masses oriented government, whatever will make life better for the workers and citizens of Oyo State is the watchword of this government.” Sodo maintained.

It would be recalled that two weeks ago, the House of Representatives introduced the bill which according to the sponsor, Hon. Garba Mohammed would allow both the Federal and state governments to freely negotiate a minimum wage with their workers in line with the nation’s federal system, a move which the protesting workers say does not work in their favour as they said it would put them at the mercy of the state governors.

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