Edo State NLC chapter threatens to boycott elections unless minimum wage bill is sent to National Assembly

OFFICIALS of the Edo State Chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) have threatened to boycott next month's general elections of President Muhammadu Buhari does not transmit the N30,000 minimum wage bill to the National Assembly.


Over recent months, the government and the trade unions have been negotiating a minimum wage and the two sides have agreed to increase the amount to N30,000 from the current N18,000 a month. After months of intense negotiations, President Buhari promised to implement the new national minimum wage after accepting the report of the Tripartite Committee on the Review of National Minimum Wage.


Last week, ministers and labour leaders been unable to end the ongoing standoff regarding the implementation of the new wage after a meeting held in Abuja to resolve the matter ended without an agreement. Labour minister Chris Ngige, said that after a five-hour long meeting, substantial progress had been made and that all that is left is a final resolution.


Exasperated with the delay, Emmanuel Ademokun, the chairman of the Edo State NLC chapter, led a protest to Government House to press for the payment of the new minimum wage. During the demonstration, he said Nigerian workers were the least paid in the world, insisting that, it must be N30,000 minimum wage on or before election or no election.


Mr Ademokun added: “We are here to express our grievances over the non-transmission of the N30,000 minimum wage to the National Assembly because we are aware that the bill has been presented to the president. Workers must decide who will govern them.”


He said the union had no issue with the Edo State government as regards workers’ welfare, noting that Governor Godwin Obaseki, had promised to pay the N30,000 amount when passed into law. Mr Ademokun presented a copy of the union’s notice of impending strike to Governor Obaseki.


Responding to the demands, Governor Obaseki reassured the workers of his administration’s readiness to pay whatever amount was passed into law. He said that the state had gone ahead to pay a N25,000 minimum wage when other states were still paying N18,000.


Governor Obaseki added: “The NLC chairman has said it all. The state is labour friendly and we will implement whatever is passed into law by the National Assembly.”