Home » New minimum wage announcement impracticable in May – Labour

New minimum wage announcement impracticable in May – Labour

by Kolade  Kadesh

THE Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, on Thursday, frowned on the non-completion of negotiations on a new minimum wage for Nigerian workers and urged the Federal Government to fast-track action.

The TUC President, Comrade Festus Osifo, who made the call while briefing journalists after the National Executive Council of the Labour movement, ruled out the possibility of having a new minimum wage in place before the end of May.

TUC also lamented that some states in the Niger Delta region that collect huge sums of money from the Federation Account among others had paid neither the wage awards nor palliatives to their workers.

He singled out Delta, Imo and Benue states as the worst culprits.

“We collated report across the various states in the country and, in that report, we could see that some states have been doing well in terms of payment of wage awards, in terms of putting palliatives in place and in terms of putting in place a more robust and a substantive solution to solving the issues that we have today as a country.

“Some of these states that are worthy to be mentioned are Borno, Oyo, Lagos, Kaduna, Rivers, Yobe, Bayelsa, Ebonyi, and the Federal Capital Territory.

“But we have some states that have done nothing. They have done next to nothing. Even some states in the Niger Delta that are receiving over N20b per month, have literally done nothing to solve the economic challenges of today and also put in place a sustainable solution for tomorrow.

“And top on that list is Benue. Benue State has done nothing for the workers. Benue State has done nothing for the masses as well. Nothing has been done in Benue. So, we hereby call on the government of Benue to put in place, robust mechanisms to solve the economic challenges that our members and the masses are passing through in the state.

“And also, there is Anambra State. We are a bit surprised because we felt if that state is being led by an economist, he should be able to put on his thinking cap, he should be able to put in place a sustainable solution that will appease the masses of that state. But Anambra also falls in this category.

“Then the state of Imo and the same thing Delta. Delta tops the list of states that collect fat allocation from the Federation Account. Delta is number one on that list. It is surprising to know that the Delta State governor is doing nothing to uplift the plight of workers. So, we hereby call on him that, as the state governor, he promised a lot when he was on electioneering campaign. Now the talk is over, this is the time to act.

“Also, Akwa Ibom should do much more, because these are states with means these are states with huge amount of revenue. They should do much more. Then also are Kebbi and Katsina. We strongly believe that what they are doing is piecemeal and that they should up the ante.”

Besides, the TUC noted with dismay that the Federal Government had not paid federal workers the wage award for March and April and called for immediate payment to cushion the economic hardship.

“Also on the issue of wage awards, the NEC-in-session frowned on the fact that the last wage award that was paid to the federal workers was February 2024 and that of March and April that are just ending have not been paid.

“So we hereby call on the government to immediately release the payment of wage award for March 2024 and April 2024 and to ensure regular payments going forward, so that at the end of April, when salary is coming in, the wage award is also paid until the new minimum wage is put in place as agreed in the communique of October 2, 2023,” he said.

He said, “The NEC-in-session discussed the issues of minimum wage and that the government has to do everything possible to ensure that this is fast-tracked because the only way you can inflate your economy is when you empower the working class.

“The only way you can inflate your economy is when people have money to purchase goods in the supermarket when people have money to go to the regular market to purchase items. If there is no money to purchase these items, if the purchasing power parity is relatively low, what is going to happen?

“So, we demand that the committee on minimum wage should hasten its activities so that a new minimum wage will be put in place. This is the only way that the economy will be re-inflated.”

Comrade Osifo also called for the review of what he termed obsolete labour laws in the country, noting that “for several years, we have been trying to review the labour law. All attempts to get the ninth National Assembly to pass the new labour law did not materialize.”

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