Director General of the Progressive Governors’ Forum PGF, Salihu Lukman has berated the Nigerian Labour Congress for placing its protest against decentralization of minimum wage on deliberate distortion of facts.
Lukman in a statement issued on Friday in Abuja noted that “the campaign for the retention of the minimum wage in the exclusive legislative list under the 1999 Nigerian Constitution as amended, is being handled by the leadership of organised labour, especially Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) based on deliberate distortions of facts”.
According to him, one of the claims is that moving minimum wage from the exclusive legislative list to the concurrent list in the 1999 Nigerian constitution will contravene provisions of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention, which Nigeria is a signatory.
“While it is true that ILO Convention No. 30 of 1928 Minimum Wage-Fixing Machinery Recommendation provides the guiding principles for the determination of minimum wages in all countries, no where was it stipulated that the process should be the exclusive preserve of federal authorities.
He however asked anyone that is interested can confirm the details.
The PGF DG added that the current debate about whether states can make minimum wage laws is basically about correcting the distortion in terms of applying the principles of minimum wage fixing as provided for4 in ILO Convention 30 of 1928.
“It is important we appeal to leadership of organised labour, especially NLC, to stop promoting false information”, he stated.
Lukman said the other distortion that needs to be corrected is that the proposal to transfer minimum wage to the concurrent legislative list is not to stop the payment of N30,000 minimum.
He added that it is important that all these distortions are corrected, saying that Nigeria’s democracy must be insulated from distortions and falsehood.
“The struggles of Nigerian workers for a just and better Nigeria should not be oriented based on falsehood and distortions.
The earlier NLC leadership retraces its steps and return to the path of truth and democratic engagement to win the support of Nigerians, including elected representatives, the better.
He urged the NLC to refrain from Political bullying which is antithetical to democracy and is counter productive to the struggles for decent wage.
Lukman said since Nigeria’s democracy is patterned after the United States of America, it should perhaps be the first reference.
“In US, minimum wage is set by US Labour Law and a range of state and local laws. As of January 2020, there were 29 states and D.C. with a minimum wage higher than the federal minimum.
Almost 90% of US minimum wage workers are earning more than $7.25 per hour, which is the minimum wage at federal level in the US.