The journey to a new minimum wage, what you should know - SyCtRenDs



Monday, November 5, 2018

The journey to a new minimum wage, what you should know

Members of Labour protesting for increment in minimum wage in Lagos. October 30, 2018. Photo: Benedict Uwalaka.

Tomorrow (Tuesday November 6) strike proposed by organized labour over the new minimum wage is still avoidable. But President Muhammadu Buhari must push his good leadership with respect to general crisis of workers’ compensation to good logical conclusion. The point cannot be overstated that President Buhari through inauguration of minimum wage committee and varying support interventions for some wage payment default states has shown positive sensitivity on the plight of Nigerian working people.

The President once asked the private aircraft chattering governors; how on earth do they catch sleep when their workers are not paid monthly stipends needed for survival? As the negotiating committee meets today, the goal should not be another round of figures trading but the need to forward to Mr President the report of negotiation which commendably agreed on negotiated N30,000. The president should in turn further waste no time but forward a draft bill to the National Assembly on the new minimum wage.

It’s being a long walk to a new minimum wage! On Monday November 25th 2017 President Buhari set up a new wage committee. As significant as that inauguration was, it also came late for a five year cycle negotiation due in 2015. The current minimum wage was signed in 2010. Then President Goodluck  Jonathan signed the new Minimum wage Act in spite of the usual belated protestation of some governors who having participated in a negotiation process would turn around to deny and even dare to renege on the outcome.

President Buhari should therefore not be distracted by the antics of some governors who have shown that they are never interested in the welfare and socio economic securities of their workers any way. On the contrary the President should be inspired by those governors who like him pay salaries as at when due such as Simon Lalung of Plateau State, Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State and Obaseki of Edo State among others.  The new minimum wage on the eve of national and state election should be a referendum on the performance of all elected leaders and all the ruling political parties. In any case minimum wage determination is on the exclusive legislative list. The President carries the cross than any appointed officials including his Minister Chris Ngige.

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