The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) has described the stand of Nigerian Governors that they can no longer pay the N18, 000 national minimum wage as heartless and barbaric.
It would be recall that the governors at a meeting in Abuja recently said that they can no longer pay the N18, 000 national minimum wage because it was imposed on them when oil sold for $126 as against the present price of $41 per barrel.
TUC in a statement by Comrade Bobboi Bala Kaigama, President, and Comrade Musa Lawal, Secretary General, said it is disappointed that governors who preached love, peace and progress few months ago is now singing in a different tune, calling for reduction of national minimum wage and sack of workers at what is supposed to be a high profile meeting.
The Congress also said that it expected the Governors Forum to be angling about true fiscal federalism and how to harness the resources nature has bequeathed to every state.
According to the statement, “What baffles any Nigerian is that the governors assert that the minimum wage was “imposed”. We are all living witnesses to the processes the last minimum wage negotiation took. There was a tripartite meeting, involving government at all levels, employers (through Nigeria’s Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) and the organized labour. One will say that the negotiation that took place fulfilled International Labour Organisation (ILO) standard of tripartism.
“After which the National Assembly enacted the new Minimum Wage Bill to law. And now, our leaders, the governors, short of suffering from total amnesia are talking of imposition. We are not only disappointed but also we fear for our future as responsible citizens of the country because we are daily confronted with policy summersault as development strategies.
“To start with, we had thought that the very essence of setting up the Governors’ Forum is for them to meet once in a while to discuss vital issues on how to move the country forward little did we know that we are absolutely wrong. For issues like reduction of national minimum wage and sack of workers to be discussed at what is supposed to be a high profile meeting sends a wrong signal. We are disappointed that governors who preached love, peace and progress for all few months ago is now singing in a different tune.
“They have suddenly realized they can no longer pay $90 a month, which suggests to us that they are asking for a merger! How can they not pay N18, 000 but they can have a 10- car convoy, six for wife, pay themselves ridiculous pension and severance pay, have houses in Abuja, Lagos, Dubai, London, USA; send their children to primary schools in London and stash millions of pounds in their mansions. This is heartless and barbaric! We are disappointed because we had expected the Governors Forum to be angling about true fiscal federalism and how to harness the resources nature has bequeathed to every state.
“We have always made it known that the cost of governance is high, especially as every state depends on federal government’s monthly allocation. Why should the innocent pay for the looting and stealing of our leaders. If they cut down salaries, how do they want business to flourish when the purchasing power is already very low. It appears all the hype on “anti -corruption” is hereby laid to rest, as workers must now steal to survive.
“One would have thought that the governors will think out of the box to explore the possibility of increasing Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) through exploration of resources, albeit abundant ones in their vicinity to improve their state resources. Furthermore, time to rethink the exploration of mineral resources being entrenched in the Exclusive List is now. Methinks it is better made concurrent. Here, review of 1999 constitution along the line of 1963 Constitution is not out of place.
“In conclusion, Congress wishes to state that it is vehemently against the move and would stop at nothing to ensure it does not see the light of the day. The organs of the Congress are going to meet very shortly to prepare for the war declared by the Governors Forum against labour and the toiling masses of the country.”