Members of the organised labour, in Bauchi State, on Wednesday, joined its counterparts from across the country to stage a peaceful protest against the planned bill for the removal of the National Minimum Wage from the Exclusive Legislative List.
Speaking at the premises of the state House of Assembly, on Wednesday, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Chairman, Comrade, Danjuma Saleh, who led hundreds of his members to protest the bill that is currently at the National Assembly, said that the planned removal is a declaration of war on Nigerian workers.
Comrade Danjuma Saleh also said that the organised labour was at the state assembly to reject the anti-workers bill, pleading with the Speaker to use his position as the Chairman of the Nigerian conference of state Assembly speakers and mobilise his colleagues against it.
According to him, “the NLC and the TUC have decided to embark on a national protest to draw the attention of the political authorities to the current move by the National Assembly to dabble into the issue of salaries and wages of teaming workers in the country both on public and private sector.”
He also said that the move to transfer the national minimum wage from the exclusive legislative list to the concurrent legislative list is an affront to the legitimate workers’ rights.
Danjuma Sale noted that the national minimum wage is enshrined in the constitution of Nigeria and in line with the global standard as backed by the ILO convention to which Nigeria is a signatory since 1961.
The Chairman of the NLC also said that they are simultaneously engaging in the protest rally today across the country to register their deep concern and express dismay over the bill.
He said that the bill is sponsored by representative Garba Datti Ahmed and his colleagues is of serious concern to workers, hence the need for them to reject it.
“The purpose of our visit to this important institution of the masses under your leadership is to convey the message of workers displeasure and call on the sponsors of this bill to discontinue forthwith,” Comrade Danjuma said.
He said that the organised labour will not stand aloof to watch the hard-fought legitimate rights been bastardised and jettisoned, vowing to use all available means within the ambit of law including an industrial strike to drive home their demand.
While expressing hope that the speaker will step down the message to his colleagues as their Chairman with a view to looking at the action of the house of representatives and advice where appropriate.
Responding, the speaker of the Bauchi state house of assembly, Rt. Hon Abubakar Y. Suleiman welcoming the organised labour pledged to mobilise his colleagues at the state assemblies against the bill.
Abubakar Suleiman said: “Even though the action of our senior colleague at the National Assembly is in line with his constitutional requirements and responsibility, however, it is not out of place to consult widely before embarking on any mission or action that touches the life of any citizen, let alone, an important institution like organised labour.”
He assured that the Bauchi State Assembly will continue to prioritise the welfare of workers, adding that the message delivered by the organised labour was loud and clear.
“We shall do our utmost best along with our fellow colleagues across the federation to ensure that workers are adequately protected and well catered for,” he said.
The speaker said that the movement of the national minimum wage from an exclusive legislative list to the concurrent one is a constitutional matter that will not be concluded without giving a fair hearing to critical stakeholders such as the organised labour.
He advised the organised labour to keep an eye on the bill so that when the matter comes up for public hearing, they will make their position known.
“You have a part to play, the survival or otherwise of the bill, you are critical stakeholders, because minimum wage or salaries is all about workers, your voice must be heard, your position must be stated. Therefore, there are lots of opportunities to either allow the bill to pass or cut it down,” Speaker Abubakar said.
Organised labour in Bauchi joins protest