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    Workers rally against removal of minimum wage from Exclusive List

    State capitals across the country yesterday witnessed protests by members of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) against the plan to remove minimum wage from the Exclusive List.

    In Osogbo, the Osun State capital, workers marched to the House of Assembly and urged its members to stop the bill which proposed the removal of minimum wage from the Exclusive List to Concurrent List.

    The Chairman of NLC, Osun State, Comrade Jacob Adekomi who led scores of its members to protest against the bill, addressed the speaker, Hon Timothy Owoeye and members. He said: “Nigeria will breach the agreement it signed with International Labour Organisation in 1961.

    “The Revenue Mobilisation and Physical Commission set a minimum wage for all the political functionaries in the country. If this minimum wage is removed from Exclusive List who will negotiate on behalf of the private sector? We will be going back to the dark old days where workers are receiving slave wages.

    “We appeal to the speaker and members of the house of Osun Assembly to stop the obnoxious, anti-worker, anarchy bill should be killed.”

    Owoeye said the state would always support the workers noting that political functionaries in Osun have denied themselves a lot to ensure that they pay minimum wage to workers in the state.

    “There is nothing like moving minimum wage from Exclusive list to Concurrent list in the state. I will work with my colleagues in the speakers’ conference to advocate for the workers’ position on the issues, within the state and Nigeria as a whole.”

    In Delta State, workers temporarily shut down Asaba, the state capital. Hundreds of workers and civil society groups marched on major streets with placards with inscriptions such as “President Buhari, No Room for Fifth Columnists, Stand with Nigerian workers keep minimum wage on the exclusive list,” Removing National Minimum wage from Executive List Is a Declaration of War on Nigerian Workers,” “National Minimum Wage Is Our Right.Don’t Decentralise Minimum Wage” , “WAGE THEFT, Crime Against Workers, Crime Against Humanity”.
    Labour protest in Kano
    Labour protest in Kano

    The protests resulted in traffic gridlock on Summit and Okpanam Roads in Asaba metropolis. The Chairman, NLC, Goodluck Ofobruku, who led the protesters to the Delta State House of Assembly, accused some governors of attempting to further impoverish workers.

    Delta Speaker Sheriff Oborevwori, who was represented by the Clerk, Mrs Lina Ochulor, assured that the state legislature will stand with workers on the issue of welfare.

    The situation in Bauchi State was similar. Protesters bore placards with inscriptions such as “Wage Theft: Crime against Workers. Crime Against Humanity, Wage is Our Right, Don’t Decentralised Workers’ Wages, On National Minimum Wage: We Stand: No to Minimum Wage on Concurrent List; Yes to Minimum Wage on Exclusive List”.

    Bauchi NLC Chairman Danjuma Saleh said the move to transfer the national minimum wage from the exclusive legislative list to the concurrent legislative list is an affront to the legitimate workers’ rights. He described the planned removal as a declaration of war on Nigerian workers by the National Assembly.

    Bauchi State House of Assembly Speaker Abubakar Suleiman pledged to mobilise his colleagues against the bill.

    “Even though the action of our senior colleague at the national Assembly is in line with his constitutional requirements and responsibility, however, it is not out of place to consult widely before embarking on any mission or action that touches the life of any citizen, let alone, an important institution like organised labour,” the speaker said.

    In Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, the House of Assembly said it would not support the bill. The Deputy Speaker of the House, Abiodun Fadeyi, gave the assurance while receiving workers who stormed the House of Assembly Complex in protest of the move to transfer issues on the legislative list.

    Fadeyi, who described the bill as obnoxious, anti-workers and not-too-friendly, said the Oyo State Assembly, as a citizen-friendly chamber, would only listen to the yearnings of the people before taking any decision.

    Workers staged a protest in Ibadan. The workers, from various unions and groups under the NLC and TUC gathered at the Unions secretariat, American Quarters, Agodi, Ibadan as early as 8 AM wearing their different unions uniform.

    The workers were led by the Oyo State NLC Chairman, Comrade Kayode Martins, and his Trade Union Congress (TUC) counterpart, Comrade Emmanuel Ogundiran in the company of other leaders of the union in the state.
    soucre and author:THE NATION

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