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Labour rejects Buhari’s technical panel on new minimum wage

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The Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, has rejected the federal government plan to raise a technical panel on the new minimum wage.

Buhari had, while presenting the 2019 appropriation to the National Assembly yesterday in Abuja, indicated plan to raise the committee to mitigate the impact of the new wage.

The rejection came as the NLC, at its NEC meeting in Abuja yesterday, directed its members to begin mobilisation at the state level for an action on January 8 against the delay in passing the new wage.

In an interview with The Guardian in Abuja last night, the Treasurer of NLC, Ibrahim Khaleel, said the labour movement rejected any technical committee on the minimum wage, saying such is unknown to the law.

“The labour movement is not interested in any technical committee. What the law recognises is a tripartite committee which was put in place and negotiated for about one year. The president does not have the powers to alter a negotiated minimum wage. Labour will reject any imposition.”

Khaleel, who is also the President of the National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), faulted insinuations that a new minimum wage is capable of inducing inflation, which President Buhari cited as the reason for planning to set up a technical committee.

He argued that “the N30,000 is not an increase but an augment of salaries.

There is no increase as far as exchange rate and inflationary trend are concerned. Note that N18,000 was like $130 in 2011, today N30,000 is less than $100. So, what is the government saying?”

Khaleel alleged that setting up a technical committee is another delay tactic government intends to adopt to ensure further postponement of the implementation of a new national wage.

The NLC official urged President Buhari to transmit the N30,000 that was negotiated by the tripartite committee, insisting that labour would not accept any figure that is less.

He alleged that Buhari was being influenced by the state governors who, according to him, are not interested in implementing the new wage.

“The President has not shown inclusiveness since he came to power, but is now suddenly adopting inclusiveness in the minimum wage issue. He is trying very hard to please the governors as against pleasing the generality of Nigerian workers that elected him.”

We are glad that the National Assembly has declared its readiness to act on the bill once it is sent to them. So, it is the Federal Government that is delaying the process,” he stated.

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