The lingering crisis on the new national minimum wage took a new dimension on Wednesday, as the leadership of Organised Labour threatened to demand for payment of two years arrears of the proposed new national minimum wage for Nigerian workers from Federal and subnational governments.
Ayuba Wabba, President, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) issued the notice in Abuja, during an interactive session with Rosa Pavanelli, General Secretary, Public Service International (PSI).
Wabba observed that the delay by President Muhammadu Buhari in transmitting the Executive bill to the National Assembly was worrisome.
“Workers in the country have made tremendous sacrifice and I think going forward, we are going to demand for arrears of those two years we have lost.
“Because I think with all fairness and justice, as they are going out to campaign we will also go out to campaign for our minimum wage.
“I also want to inform you that we have passed the first hurdle and it took us almost a year to be at the tripartite negotiation table for a figure, and we have agreed on a figure of N30,000.
“That figure has been transmitted to the Mr President who set up the committee and we have also told them to forward an executive bill immediately to the National Assembly.
“We are not unaware of the new tactics by the state governors to try to arm-twist what has already been done,’’ he said.
Wabba explained that six state governors who represented the interests of all the State Governments in the Tripartite Committee chaired by Ama People, were part of the negotiation process, with each representing their geopolitical zones.
“So, mutually on the negotiation table, we have looked at all other factors, especially factors that were provided in convention 131 and 95 of the International Labour Organisation on the minimum wage in which five factors were considered.
“The issue of the purchasing power parity, inflation, ability to pay, all those factors were considered and that is how our demand of N66,500 was then agreed mutually on N30,000.
“So, workers have made enough sacrifices as we have lost already two years,’’ he said.
Speaking earlier, Rosa Pavanelli, General Secretary, Public Service International (PSI) which covers over 170 countries expressed solidarity for Nigerian trade union movement in its quest to improve workers’ well-being.
She posited workers in the public service were faced with a lot of challenges especially in Nigeria, stressing that: “working for months, providing services to people without being paid is something that is unacceptable and this unfortunately what is happening here.
“In a country which is rich of resources that can have wealth distribute but it is oppressed by the greater international capital that wants to grab the resources and forget the people who create wealth for the country.
“This is very wrong and unacceptable, we must ensure good governance, social justice for the Nigerian workers, we will support you anytime you call on us,’’ Pavanelli said.
She also noted that PSI was in Nigeria to fashion out ways of assisting the Internally Displace Persons (IDPs).