As the back and forth between the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Nigerian Federal Government persists over the demand for a N30,000 minimum wage, the labour body has described the delay as “provocative” and stressed that it is growing impatient.
The NLC’s General Secretary, Mr Peter Ozo-Eson, who granted an interview to the Punch Newspapers yesterday, accused the Government of unnecessarily delaying the implementation of the proposed minimum wage.
Apparently, a draft bill is yet to be sent to the National Assembly for legislation, despite the fact that it has been weeks since the report on the new minimum wage was sent to him.
This situation is making members of the NLC restless, and they can no longer wait for their demand to be met, Mr Ozo-Eson said.
He also forewarned that labour members may meet soon to review the current situation and if possible, take necessary actions to further agitate its demands. He, however, did not state when exactly the NLC may be meeting, even as he clearly stated that everything is dependent on when and how well the Government responds to them.
“The latest about the issue of the minimum wage is clear – we expect that since the Presidency had already received our report, the President should have drafted an executive bill to the National Assembly on it so that they can begin to legislate on it. That has not been done even though we expect that it should have been done already. We cannot continue to wait forever.
“The next step as I said is for the President to transmit a draft bill to the National Assembly. The FG’s delay on the issue is provocative, our members are becoming restless and the FG must act fast on our report. If the delay continues, our next step will be made public after we meet again to review the steps taken so far.”
In the meantime, the ongoing delay in the implementation of the minimum way is due to a negotiation deadlock between the Government and the NLC. Due to the absence of an agreement, a draft copy cannot be sent to the National Assembly for legislation.
Recall that last week, the International Labour Organisation released a report which showed that workers around the world are earning less. This is most pronounced in developing countries like Nigeria, where the Government cannot even afford to pay N30,000 minimum wage despite being one of the world’s top crude producers.
Meanwhile, South Africa recently increased its minimum wage to N126,480, making it one of the highest paying in Africa.