By Joan Nwagwu
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) wants the Federal Government to commence the implementation of the new National Minimum Wage for workers in the country before the May Day Celebration.
Mr Najeem Yasin, Acting President of NLC, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Abuja.
He commended the Senate for approving the minimum wage bill of N30,000 on Tuesday and called on President Muhammadu Buhari to quickly sign the bill into law.
NAN recalls that the House of Representatives had earlier approved N30,000 as new national minimum wage before embarking on break for the 2019 general election.
The Nigeria Governors Forum had proposed N24,000 while the Federal Government forwarded N27,000 to the National Assembly.
“We commend the Senate for passing the minimum wage bill of N30,000 but the battle for the minimum wage was not yet over; workers will not rest until the bill is signed and implemented.
“But it is not yet over because we want them to make sure that the process gets to the logical conclusion and for the quick implementation of that N30,000. Nigerian workers are happy and commend them.
“We want the federal government to ensure its implementation before the May Day celebration, which is the Workers Day celebration. Government should greet workers with the commencement of the implementation,” the labour leader said.
Yasin, who is also the National President of National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), called on the federal government to ensure effective sanctions for employers who refused to implement the N30,000 National Minimum Wage.
“We have been fighting for this N30,000 for a long time and the governors have been opposed to it. But now, it has been passed. Nigerian workers are now looking forward to the signing the bill into law,” Yasin said.
Mr Amechi Asugwuni, NLC Deputy President, also called on President Mohammadu Buhari to follow the path of honour and immediately sign into law the new pay rise document once he received it.
He, however, disagreed on call by the Senate for a review of the Revenue Sharing formulae which gave federal government 56 percent, states 24 and local government 20 percent.
He argued that the minimum wage bill was an independent bill which should not be subjected to adjustments in sharing formulae by the Revenue Mobilization and Fiscal Commission.
According to him, such calls could further slow down the already overdue implementation of the new minimum wage.
Also, Mr Joe Ajaero, President, United Labour Congress (ULC), commended the Senate for the passage of the N30,000 minimum wage.
Ajaero called on the federal government to ensure that the process of the national minimum wage implementation should not be beyond March and April.
“Government should ensure that this year May Day should be a day to celebrate the implementation of the national minimum wage. I want to say that by May 1, all employers of Labour should have implemented it,” he added.