Wabba

 

***Says Over 50 Percent Of Tripartite Committee Members Endorsed, Mobilizes For Total Strike Nov. 6

By LINDA IKE, Abuja

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) leadership has vowed not to engage in further negotiation with the employers of labour, insisting on N30,000 minimum wage or total economic knockdown from November 6.

It cited that over 50 percent of members of the Tripartite Committee on National Minimum Wage endorsed agreement for N30,000 at the end of negotiation rounded off on October 5, 2018 and has concluded its assignment, ruling out any further negotiation.

The NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, who spoke in reaction to the sum of N22,500 announced by Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF), and maintained that N30,000 new minimum wage is irreversible.

The NLC President spoke during a press conference, purposely to reject any reduction of the N30,000 and to sensitise members of the organised labour unions to be ready for total industrial action ahead of November 6.

According to Wabba, “It has been signed. At the day of the conclusion of the meeting on the 5th of October, it was because it’s late. More than 50 percent of our members have signed the signature page. What are they signing if there’s no agreement. That is the point I want you to realize.

“Nobody can dispute the fact that the signature page has been signed
by many of our members. In fact, because it was late and some people are trying to catch their flight, we now said okay, on the day that the report will be submitted other members that have not sign can sign the report. So the issue of signing is an issue that has already taken place.”

The NLC President alleged that the letter purportedly credited to Muheeba Dankaka, President, Kaduna Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) that the Chamber proposed N22,000 was
falsified by those trying to truncate the exercise.

Wabba who described the Nigeria Governors’ Forum as Allien to the 1999 Constitution (as amended), argued that all the parties involved in the negotiation including six representatives of the 36 State Governors and Organised Private Sector (OPS) after robust engagement unanimously agreed to the N30,000.

According to the document, Kano which has the biggest workforce and pays monthly wage of N9.2 billion offered to pay N30,600; Abia proposed N42,000; Jigawa proposed N32,000; Plateau proposed three figures (N25,000, N30,000 and N57,000 while Nasarawa proposed N24,750, N31,348.30 while Borno proposed N27,000.

Also, Gombe proposed N228,000; Bauchi proposed N25,200; Adamawa
proposed N23,000; Taraba proposed N20,000; Ondo proposed N22,000 while Imo, Ekiti, Akwa-Ibom, Kogi, Katsina and Oyo states did not specify any amount in the memoranda submitted.

The report further stated that Lagos offered that it will be bound by State Governors Forum, while Enugu offered to implement anything agreed at the Tripartite Committee.

According to Wabba, the organized labour in a letter sent to President Muhammadu Buhari proffered solution to the lingering crisis trailing the N30,000 agreed as the new minimum wage.

He disclosed that Ms. Ama Pepple who was the Chairman of the Tripartite Committee on Minimum Wage has not debunked the N30,000 which the organized labour
requested for.

“We have said severally that Ms Ama Pepple is a woman of honour. A woman that has been the head of Service of the Federation, she was also at one time Minister of the Federal Republic. Those are the
qualifications that gave her the pedigree to be appointed as chairperson of the Tripartite Committee.

“Clearly she stands by the truth and she has not debunked what the organised labour has said. I’ve said clearly, in the letter sent to Mr. President, we said in confidence let Mr. President invite her and hear her view, so that those issues can be put in context. So that government will know who is lying and we stand by our position that she remains very resolute and she has confirmed what we have said.

“NECA is also there as organized private sector, I’m sure they will issue a formal statement to actually confirm what I’ve said and what our position has continued to be. So this issue of threatening the organized private sector and trying to divide their rank and file individually including what they did to NACCIMA we must also expose
it, because that is not what is expected in a free process of collective bargaining.

“It is unfortunate for somebody to now work on somebody’s intelligence and now falsify the document.

“Nigeria Governors Forum is not a negotiating body but merely a political organization for the convenience of state governors.

“The tripartite committee from inception sent letters to each state government to send in their memoranda as their contributions to the new national minimum wage negotiating process. 21 States sent in their memorandum quoting figures.

“Second, the demand of organized labour is not N30,000. Our demand is N66,500. N30,000 is the compromise figure arrived at the end of negotiations by the tripartite partners – Government, Employers and
Organized Labour. The new minimum wage was a product of intense negotiations that lasted for almost one year.

“The Governors had six representatives on the Tripartite Committee – one state governor represented each of the geopolitical zones. The representatives of the state governors were part and parcel of the work of the negotiating committee from beginning to the end. It is important to note that the National Minimum Wage is not an allocation to workers.

“It is a product of negotiation by the tripartite partners. The unilateral pronouncement by governors of N22,500 Minimum Wage is an abuse of every known principle of industrial relations, labour laws,
processes and international best practices.

“The NGF erroneously stated that the population of salaried workers is 5% of the general population in Nigeria. This 5% represents the nation’s workforce including teachers, health workers, police personnel, military men and women, engineers, drivers and other workers laboring for the development of our country.

“We are also very concerned about the huge pressure being brought upon the Organized Private Sector (OPS) to compromise their
stand on the N30,000 compromise New National Minimum Wage. This pressure by the enemies of the Nigerian people was what led to the recent statement by NACCIMA that sought to cast aspersion on an already negotiated New National Minimum Wage.

“We believe that the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA), a reputable body that represents organized labour, will present the fact as it is.

“We, therefore, condemn unequivocally the communiqué issued by the Nigeria Governors Forum on October 30, 2018 as an attempt to undermine the authority of Mr. President. This position should be equally  condemned by all.

“Our demand is that the constitutional, legal and morally right step to take at this point is for the Chairman of the National Minimum Wage Tripartite Negotiating Committee to submit the report of the already concluded National Minimum Wage negotiations to Mr. President for transmission to the National Assembly for consideration and passage   into law.

“We wish to reiterate our position adopted at our National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of 23rd October, 2018 that any figure below N30,000 will not be accepted by us. We call on our members to continue
to mobilize in preparation for the commencement of an indefinite strike on the 6th of November, 2018, if by then necessary steps have not been taken to adopt the recommendations of the Tripartite Committee,” he said.