25th October, 2014
The Trade Union Congress (TUC) on Saturday gave the Senate a one-week ultimatum to clarify its position on the removal of Minimum Wages Laws from the Exclusive List.
In a communiqué jointly signed by the President of the union, Mr Bobboi Kaigam, and the National Secretary, Mr Musa Lawal, TUC said this was necessary before a follow-up action.
NAN reports that the communiqué came at the end of an emergency meeting of the TUC Central Working Committee (CWC) in Lagos.
According to the communiqué, the purported amendment by the Senate, if allowed to stand, would produce a number of undesirable implications.
“The CWC observed that there are conflicting reports as to the true state of affairs. So, the leadership of the National Assembly should clarify the true position of the amendment within one week from today.
“We say ‘NO’ to the minimum wage deregulation and we resist the attempt with our capacity.
“The CWC-in-session mandated the leadership of TUC to relate with the NLC and allies in civil society organisations to mobilise without further delay for a follow-up action”.
It said the amendment would create a chaotic and potentially destabilising industrial relations environment in the country.
“Politics will be introduced into wage determination, in particular during elections, as was the case in the First Republic among Regional Governments.
“Minimum wage which is a product of collective bargaining should not be made a state law, because both the private and public sectors are involved,” the communique read.
It also added that the amendments would negate the spirit and practice of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention 131 which the nation domesticated in the 1979 Constitution.
“While we give them one week, our mobilisation has commenced. Immediately after the expiration of the one week, there will be follow-up action and nothing more.
“We will not get back to them anymore. We want the Senate to be very explicit,” the TUC said.
The communiqué commended the House of Representatives for voting to retain the minimum wage on the exclusive list in its amendment.
NAN reports that the removal of the minimum wage from the exclusive list empowers states and individual employers to decide on and set their own minimum wage.
This would be done without recourse to the national minimum wage.