The Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC has said that the recent declaration by the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, NGF, that it could no longer sustain the N18,000 Minimum Wage was a declaration of war on Nigerian workers.
The NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, said in a statement on Sunday that the congress would mobilise workers against the attempt by the NGF to reverse the Minimum Wage.
The NGF Chairman, Governor Abdulazeez Yari of Adamawa State had said after a meeting of the forum that the Minimum Wage was imposed on the governors when the price of oil was $126 in the international market as against the prevailing $41.
He said the Minimum Wage came into being in 2011 after two years’ agitation by the labour movement and negotiations.
The NLC expressed shock over Yari’s statement that the N18,000 National Minimum Wage promulgated into law in 2011 was no longer sustainable because of the fall in the price of crude oil.
The union said, “We wish to make it abundantly clear that this attempt to reverse the National Minimum Wage is a declaration of war against the working people of this country, and we would have no alternative than to mobilize to respond to this act of aggression by the political class on our welfare.
“For the records, the 2011 National Minimum Wage came into existence after almost two years of agitation and eventual negotiation by the tripartite of government (represented by both the federal and state governments), the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association representing other employers (in the private sector) and organised Labour.
“This is in the best tradition of tripartite negotiation recognised and codified by the International Labour Organization. As organised Labour, we submitted a request for N52,000 and provided justification for it as the minimum wage which a worker and his recognised legal dependents need to live a healthy life over 30 – 31 days in a month.”
Out of patriotic disposition and consideration, the congress said it reluctantly agreed to the N18,000 wage which it said was grossly inadequate as a living wage, noting that many state governments who submitted memoranda to the tripartite negotiating committee recommended figures that were far above the N18,000 that was eventually agreed.