resorting to threatening members of the organised private sector to
disown the N30,000 figure agreed to at the end of the meeting of the
tripartite committee on the new National minimum wage.
If the threat continues, Labour has warned that they may be forced to revert back to its original demand of N66,500.
of NLC, Comrade Ayuba Wabba who spoke at a news conference in Abuja,
denounced the current stand of state governors under the Nigeria
Governors Forum, challenging them to go back to their various states,
gather their workers and tell them that they cannot pay the new minimum
wage and how much they can pay and see the reaction of their workers.
said the current grandstanding by the governor was a way of seeking
more money from the federal government and a subtle blackmail against
the federal government as they want to go back home and tell their
workers that it is the federal government that is not willing to pay the
He drew attention to comments by individual
governors that they will be willing to pay whatever is agreed upon by
the tripartite committee, stressing that throughout the process of
negotiation, the governors were fully represented by six governors.
reminded the governors that the Nigeria Governors Forum is not known to
law and the process of collective bargaining, adding that what is known
to law is the individual states, pointing out that the offer of N22,500
by the governors was not accepted by Organised Labour.
further that since the government is now presenting fresh figure,
Organized Labour May be forced to revert back to the old figures it
presented before N30,000 was agreed upon through a process of collective
Wabba said: “we wish to state that the Nigeria
Governors Forum is not a negotiating body but merely a political
organization for the convenience of state governors. The tripartite
committee from inception sent letters to each state government to send
in their memoranda as their contributions to the new national minimum
wage negotiating process. 21 States sent in their memorandum quoting
“Second, the demand of organized labour is not N30,000.
Our demand is N66,500. N30,000 is the compromise figure arrived at the
end of negotiations by the tripartite partners – Government, Employers
and Organized Labour. The new minimum wage was a product of intense
negotiations that lasted for almost one year.
“It was mutually
agreed at the concluding meeting of the negotiating committee on the 5th
of October this year. So, this is the stand of organised labour.
Minimum wage is not an allocation or an award. It is negotiated,. So,
the long process of arriving at a figure is a tripartite process.
figure that has come out of the governors forum is a mere pronouncement
and has no place in a collective bargaining machinery provided by the
various ILO conventions and our national laws. What the law recognises
is a tripartite negotiation. Six governors represented the governors and
so, they have been part of the process where decision was made.
this point, labour wants to reiterate that the figure that has been
allocated by the governors is hereby rejected because it has no place in
collective bargaining process.
“One more thing we need put in
proper perspective isn’t he claim by thgovernors that workers in Nigeria
are merely five percent. But the question is what is the population of
the political class compared to the population of Nigeria. These five
percent workers constitute the workforce and therefore you cannot over
look their contribution to national development.
take care of the entire population and therefore is about human beings
and not only about building infrastructure. You build infrastructure so
that human beings can use it. You cannot undermine the contribution of
Nigerian workers who create the wealth.
“It is very petty to say
that the working class is merely five percent. Let them tell us the
number that they constitute in the context of Nigerians workforce.
Globally, it is this same workers that service the economy.
example, you cannot advance issues mod education without looking at the
centrality of the teacher. It is crude to now denigrate and undermine
workers and call the, merely five percent of the population. This is
unfortunate and therefore, we stand by our earlier position that on what
was agreed we stand. Outside that, we will revert to our earlier demand
“We are also aware that intense pressure has been out
on some members of the organised private sector especially NACCIMA who
were forced to issue a statement under duress. I spoke to the lady, Haha
Maheeba who disputed what was published today by many newspapers as her
“I am aware that NECA, the umbrella body of organised
private sector will issue an official statement. Nobody can go out of a
collective bargaining process and begin to advance falsehood or bend he
“We stand by that and all of us just be careful the way we
report information. She told me that somebody high in government called
her to do a statement because sent he conclusion of the exercise, she
was not there and cannot make any statement to that effect.
sure NECA will make a forma, statement to confirm whether there was a
conclusion of the meeting and an agreement reached. I want to say that
just just as as the NLC has pronounced that without making sure the
issue of N30000 which was mutually agreed through a well known process
is accepted send put into law, the action that has been proposed from
November 6 will take effect.
“We are in a society where people
use every opportunity to extort money and I think that is what the
governors have tried to do. They want to explore the demand for a new
minimum wage to see if they can get more money from the federal
“The current minimum wage of N18000 has expired since
2016 and workers have been patient and unions have played their role.
So, workers should not be taken for granted for being patient.
we want to say clearly now that every governor should go back to their
state which is he entity recognised by law, gather their workers and say
they cannot pay N30000 and not come to Abuja hide under a forum that is
not recognised by law and say they cannot pay N30000.
individual governors have gone back to answer their names by saying
whatever is agreed, they are ready to pay. I want to call on Mr.
President to be aware of this mischief. They want to go back to their
states and tell their workers that it is the Presidency that is not
willing to pay, but that they will be willing to pay whatever is
“Let there be this understanding that this forum has
non legitimacy whatsoever in the context of collective bargaining
process of law. What is recognised by law is individual states. So let
them go back and tell their workers what they will be willing to pay and
see the reaction. This will put the whole argument into contest and
every body will know where things are.
“We will continue to
respect collective bargaining process and whatever has been agreed
through that process will be respected. Aside that, if they are not
willing to respect that, labour is willing to revert back to our initial
demand of N66,500 which wasn’t he initial demand nor labour. We want to
tell Nigerians that workers have been very patient despite the very
“In the entire West Africa today, despite
being the best economy, our minimum wage is the least, yet, out
political elites including the governors receive the highest salary in
Africa. Where is the justice and fairness.
“Where is also the
issue of ability to pay if state governors and mother political office
holders across the county near the same salary. Who is more Important?
We are resolute that there must be fairness and justice and there must
be respect for the rule of law.
“Let me say that if this minimum
wage is not reviewed with the context of collective bargaining, the law
has been violated because we are already two years in arrears. Even if
we are to pay interest on the new figure, what will that Be? We should
put the facts before the public.
“We must expose this idea of
threatening the private sector like they did with NACCIMA must be
exposed because that is not what is expected in a process of free
“What is going on is an attack on workers
rights and trade union rights and this is unprecedented because this has
never happened before because collective bargaining agreements are
usually respected in other to have industrial peace and development.
I say, we stand by the figures that has been agreed upon, but if
everyone is reverting to figure prior to when we agreed in 30000 then
organised labour will have no choice than to revert to our earlier
demand. If governor will now start advancing new figures and then
federal government doing same, nothing stop organised labour from doing