Labour urges National Assembly to approve N30,000 minimum wage

ORGANISED labour under the aegis of Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) has urged the National Assembly as the custodian of the will and weal of millions of Nigerians to approved N30,000 monthly National Minimum Wage as agreed, through a democratic process, by the Tripartite Committee which was saddled with the task of providing a new National Minimum Wage for the country.

In a press statement issued in Lagos Wednesday, ASCSN National President, Comrade Bobboi Bala Kaigama and the Secretary-General, Comrade Alade Bashir Lawal, emphasized that lawmakers being the representatives of the people cannot afford to short-change Nigerian workers by siding with the Executive arm of government which appears bent to scuttle the negotiated N30,000 monthly National Minimum Wage.

“As we write, Nigeria has become the poorest country in the world. Yet instead of approving a living wage for workers, the Presidency is hiding under the National Council of State to subvert N30,000 monthly National Minimum Wage recommended by the Tripartite Committee after extensive consultations and deliberations including touring of the six geopolitical zones of the country before it arrived at that figure.

“Indeed, by recommending two parallel Minimum Wage, one for Federal workers and the other for State Governments and Private Sector employees, members of the National Council of State made up former Presidents and ex-military Heads of State as well as State Governors have given the impression before the international community that their knowledge of the global concept of a National Minimum Wage in a country is suspect.

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“It is this type of decision that continues to make Nigeria a laughing stock before the comity of nations,” the union regretted.

According to the ASCSN, the International Labour Organisation Convention 131 of 1970 stressed that the purpose of a National Minimum Wage is to “protect workers against unduly low pay and help to ensure a just and equitable share of progress to all and a minimum living wage to all who are employed and in need of such protection.”

It regretted that Nigerian workers are the least paid in Africa despite enormous petroleum resources that have continued to be siphoned into private pockets by the political elites.

“For instance, Nigeria National Minimum Wage stands at $58 per month while that of Libya is $325, Algeria $155, Chad $110, Morocco $310, South Africa $232, Seychelles $304, etc.”

The union posited that former Presidents, ex-military Heads of State and Governors who receive millions of naira monthly are pained that Nigerian workers want to receive N30,000 monthly which amounts to N1,000 per day.

“How can a worker live on N1,000 per day let alone fend for his or her spouse, four children and dependants. By insisting on N27,000 as a Minimum Wage for States and Private Sector employees, the members of the National Council of State have shown how insensitive and heartless they are,” the union lamented.

It urged the Trade Union movement, Civil Society groups, Students organisations, market women and other mass organisations to prepare to resist the deliberate plans of the government to continue to impoverish Nigerian workers and other underprivileged groups in the country.