This is blatant ignorance- Labour blasts governors over minimum wage demand

In a statement on Friday, June 28, 2024, members of the organised labour comprising both the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) lambasted the governors for calling for the decentralisation of the minimum wage negotiation.

Some governors, under the aegis of the Southern Governors’ Forum, had canvassed for the consideration of the cost of living and the ability of each state to pay in reaching an agreement on the new minimum wage.

Upah accused the governors of double standard, noting that there is usually no hoopla when political office holders across the nation receive uniform salaries as determined by the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission.

“This double standard which pits a few privileged against the majority poor is an issue that should be of concern to those who love this country.

“We are deeply concerned by this blatant display of ignorance regarding the global best practices for a national minimum wage by some of these governors.

“It is evident that, despite their frequent travels abroad, they have deliberately chosen not to educate themselves on fundamental global issues crucial to successful governance.

“This level of self-imposed ignorance on basic industrial relations matters clearly illustrates why our nation is poorly governed, resulting in unacceptable suffering of Nigerians.

“For this set of governors, we recommend a return to school for proper education as they constitute a threat to our democracy,” Upah stated.

The NLC spokesman claimed that the tendency for governors to pay workers whatever they deem fit has deepened poverty and causing varying dimension of insecurity.

“It is unfortunate that workers’ salaries are often seen as charity rather than the hard-earned income of hardworking Nigerians.

“It is equally painful that some of these governors fail to realise that workers’ salaries substantially drive the economy. Not surprisingly, they prioritise their greed over the need of ordinary citizens.

“The fate of Nigerian workers cannot be left solely in the hands of employers, whether public or private. No sane society does that.

“What the governors are asking for is akin to allowing numerous companies and organizations in Nigeria to pay workers whatever they like.

“While these companies may not pay the same salaries, they must adhere to the national wage floor, and the same should apply to state governors.

“We urge President (Bola) Tinubu who had promised a living wage (which is superior to a minimum wage) not to allow himself be blackmailed or boxed into a corner by unpatriotic governors.

“We urge the federal government to stop dithering on the issue of the national minimum wage because of the gang-up by some selfish governors,” he added.

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