Members of the National Union of Civil Engineering Construction, Furniture and Wood Workers (NUCECFWW), Lagos State chapter, have protested against the proposed removal of minimum wage from the exclusive legislative list.
The rally, which was part of the nationwide protest called by the leadership of the National Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC), started in the Yaba area of Lagos.
While speaking with FIJ, Kenneth Nwagu, the Deputy National President of the union, said the move to delist minimum wage negotiation from the exclusive responsibilities of the Federal Government is against the law and international standards, whie a colleague of his said it would spell “financial crisis for Nigerian workers”.
“This is not just about construction workers alone. It is purely an NLC program,” he said.
“All over the states of the federation, including Abuja, the congress is drawing the attention of the general public and the government to the proposed move by the National Assembly to remove minimum wage from the exclusive list and make it something to be determined by the states.
“We see it as against the most relevant convention of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) which states that the national wage negotiation should be controlled by the central government.”
The National Assembly, through a bill sponsored by Hon. Garba Datti, the lawmaker representing Sabon Gari Federal Constituency of Kaduna State, has made attempts to confer state governments with the powers to determine the minimum wage of their workers.
The bill, which has passed second reading in the House of Representatives, suffered opposition from citizens, including Dr. Chris Ngige, the Minister of Labour and Employment, who said the executive did not see anything wrong with national minimum wage being on the exclusive legislative list.
Comrade John Akogo, a member of the Construction Union, said the new national benchmark of N30,000 is not safe with governors, and that in light of the present economic realities, a reduction would mean financial crisis for Nigerian workers.
The rally, according to Nwagu, will end at the Lagos State House of Assembly where the workers would make their stand known to the speaker and other lawmakers.
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