The President, Nigeria Labour Congres (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba, has said Labour may be forced to take action on the issue of mnimum Wage. He said this administration was dragging its feet in constituting a tripartite committee as is the practice to negotiate a new Minimum Wage.
Wabba said with the harsh economic realities and their impact on workers Labour could not wait indefinitely for the government to respond at its own time.
“We have since submitted a request for an upward review of the National Minimum Wage which was signed into law in 2011 by President Goodluck Jonathan, by the administration. Despite that the minimum wage was due for renegotiation after five years, the current administration is dragging its feet in constituting a tripartite committee as is the practice to negotiate a new minimum wage.
“Though we have been told by the administration that the panel will be constituted, we enjoin the government to urgently sort out whatever is the constraint it is facing and act on the matter before we are forced to take actions that may be unpleasant,” Wabba said.
He said in the last 12 months, the inflation rate had gone over the roof, and the masses, the salaried and the teeming millions of the unemployed, were facing very difficult times.
He said amid these difficulties, the union had contended with a number of state governments that had misplaced priorities and regularly refused to pay workers their salaries as and when due.
“Similarly pension of retired public servants have gone for several months, and in some cases, years unpaid. We have over the last 15 months fought these state governments to pay up these outstanding wages and pension liabilities they owe workers. We will continue to do this till all salaries and pensions across the country are fully paid up,” he said.
On women empowerment and gender equality, Wabba called for the full implementation of Gender Equity Policy by organisations.
He said almost 15 years after the adoption of the policy, it was appropriate to talk about consolidating its gains.
He said the NLC gender equity policy had enabled the Congress and virtually all its affiliates to have increased women representation at the level of leadership in their structures.
He said: “To ensure that these changes are sustainable, the NLC constitution and that of affiliate unions were amended to ensure the inclusion of women representations at leadership levels.’’
“At the NLC level, not only is the Chairperson of the National Women Commission now automatically a vice president of the NLC, in the 2007 delegates Conference of the Congress, two ex-officio positions were created at the level of National Administrative Council (NAC) of NLC, to be occupied by women.”