Minimum Wage: NLC Warns Governors Against Dictatorial Tendencies

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on Friday cautioned state governors against exhibiting dictatorial tendencies amidst the recent statements made by some governors regarding their desire to pay what they deem fit to Nigerian workers as the minimum wage.

“This notion is not only dictatorial but also undermines the very essence as well as the model adopted for creating a national minimum wage in Nigeria,” NLC’s spokesperson, Benson Upah made this known in a statement in Abuja, Punchng reports.

Explaining the concept of a national minimum wage, Upah noted that it is not an arbitrary decision, saying, “It represents a national wage floor, a baseline below which no worker in the law should be paid. This threshold is a collective agreement that ensures a minimum standard of living for every worker in the law. 

“The Governors’ demand to unilaterally determine the minimum wage negates this principle and threatens the welfare of Nigerian workers and the national economy.”

Upah stressed that it was important to remind the governors that the national minimum wage is not synonymous with the individual pay structure of the states which they implement religiously, reflecting their unique financial capabilities and circumstances.

He further added that the diversity in pay structure underscores the flexibility that already exists within the system, allowing states to reward their workers in alignment with their financial realities.

“Furthermore, the governors’ argument appears inconsistent when juxtaposed with the remuneration of political officeholders. Why is there no hue and cry when political officeholders across the nation receive uniform salaries as determined by the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission?

“These double standards which pit a few privileged against the majority poor is an issue that should be of concern to those who love this country.”

Upah further said the NLC is deeply concerned by what it tagged as a “blatant display of ignorance” regarding the global best practices for national minimum wage by some of these governors.

He said it was evident that, despite their frequent travels abroad, they have deliberately chosen not to educate themselves on fundamental global issues crucial to successful governance.

“This level of self-imposed ignorance on basic industrial relations matters clearly illustrates why our nation is poorly governed, resulting in unacceptable suffering of Nigerians. For this set of governors, we recommend a return to school for proper education as they constitute a threat to our democracy.

“The pursuit by many governors to pay workers whatever they like deepens poverty and causes varying dimensions of insecurity. The governors are carried away by their present structure of security detail but the sword of Damocles awaits them on exit from office.

“It’s unfortunate that workers’ salaries are often seen as charity rather than the hard-earned income of hardworking Nigerians. It is equally painful that some of these governors fail to realise that workers’ salaries substantially drive the economy. Not surprisingly, they prioritise their greed over the needs of ordinary citizens.

“The fate of Nigerian workers cannot be left solely in the hands of employers, whether public or private. No sane society does that. What the governors are asking for is akin to allowing numerous companies and organisations in Nigeria to pay workers whatever they like. 

“While these companies may not pay the same salaries, they must adhere to the national wage floor, and the same should apply to state governors.”


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