THE Nigerian Labour Congress will today (Wednesday) hold a nationwide protest over moves by the National Assembly to remove the national minimum wage from the exclusive to the concurrent legislative list.
The congress in an invitation to journalists on Tuesday said the protest would hold in the 36 states’ Houses of Assembly and at the National Assembly in Abuja.
It added that the protest would start from the Unity Fountain, Abuja, at 7.30 am to the National Assembly complex.
Recall that a bill seeking to remove the negotiation on minimum wage from the exclusive list to the concurrent list passed the second reading in the House of Representatives on February 23.
According to the sponsor, Garba Mohammed (APC Kano), the bill is to allow both the federal and state governments to freely negotiate minimum wage “with their workers in line with our federalism.”
But the NLC opposed the plan, describing the bill as an attempt to undermine Nigeria’s working class.
The invitation read, “The Nigeria Labour Congress and its allies will tomorrow (Wednesday) embark on a nationwide protest against attempts by some elements at the National Assembly to remove the minimum wage from the exclusive legislative list to the concurrent legislative list. In Abuja, it will mobilize from the Unity Fountain at 7.30 am to the National Assembly.”
The spokesman, Ministry of Labour, Mr Charles Akpan, said the ministry had “no comment for now.”
The police could not be reached for comment on the planned protest as the Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, was unreachable.
The congress had in a communiqué issued at the end of the emergency meeting of its National Executive Council penultimate Tuesday said it had empowered the National Administrative Council of the NLC to declare and enforce a national strike action, “especially if the legislators continue on the ruinous path of moving the national minimum wage from the exclusive legislative list to the concurrent legislative list.”
TUC to protest at National Assembly
In a related development, the Trade Union Congress has directed its members to mobilise for a protest and occupation of the National Assembly complex on Wednesday against the Assembly’s move to remove the Minimum Wage Act from the exclusive to the concurrent legislative list.
This instruction was contained in a communiqué jointly signed by the TUC President, Quadri Olaleye, and the Secretary-General, Musa Lawal, at the end of a National Executive Council meeting of the TUC on Thursday in Delta.
The union condemned the failure of some state governments to implement the new minimum wage and pension and charged the state councils of TUC to mobilise with the NLC and ensure full compliance with the action in their respective states.