BY OBUTE JAMES
Following the adoption of N27,000 as National Minimum Wage by the National Council of State on Tuesday, the labour unions had threatened to go strike.
The national council of consists of the President (who is the Chairman); Vice-President (who is the Deputy Chairman); all former Presidents/former Heads of the Government of the Federation; all former Chief Justices of Nigeria; President of the Senate; Speaker of the House of Representatives; all the governors of the states of the Federation; and the Attorney-General of the Federation.
The council on Tuesday’s meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, fixed the minimum wage at N27,000 across the states after reviewing the positions of all the parties.
The private sector is at liberty to pay any amount to workers, so long as it is not below N27,000.
However, the Federal Government said it would pay workers N30,000 on its part.
The Tripartite Committee on Review of National Minimum Wage headed by a former Head of Service of the Federation, Ms Amma Pepple had recommended N30,000 as mimimum wage.
The Pepple committee had submitted its report to President Muhammadu Buhari in November 2018 and it spiralled disputes, as the majority of state governors insisted they could only afford N22, 500.
The Minister of Labour, Dr Chris Ngige, confirmed the council’s decision to State House correspondents in Abuja as the meeting rose.
He explained that the council approved a periodic review of every five years, while employers with workers fewer than 25 would be exempted.
Ngige stated that with the approval of the N27,000, a bill would be sent to the National Assembly on Wednesday (today) to get the necessary legal backing for the new wage regime.
The NLC General Secretary, Dr Peter Ozo-Eson said said the NLC had called an emergency National Executive Council meeting for Friday to weigh on the deadline given to the government within which to submit an executive bill to the National Assembly.
The NLC general secretary added that the Federal Government was only projecting a shutdown of the economy with its latest action.
Also, the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, has rejected a recommendation that the national monthly minimum wage be raised to N27,000 from N18,000, its spokesman, said on Tuesday
The TUC, which represents senior civil servants, said agreeing a minimum wage was a product of negotiations and that N30,000 had been agreed on and not N27,000.
The council also reviewed the preparations for the February polls and called on all relevant stakeholders to collaborate with the Independent National Electoral Commission for the success of the general election.
The former leaders, who attended Tuesday’s meeting were former President Olusegun Obasanjo; former Head of Interim National Government, Chief Ernest Shonekan; Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar (retd.); and former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Also in attendance in the meeting were Senate President, Senator Bukola Sarki, state governors among others.