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Between National Minimum Wage And General Minimum Wage

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ElevateNews takes a look at the discrepancy between National and General Minimum Wages.

If Adams Oshiomhole could become a State governor and now the National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), it will not be out of place if the incumbent President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Waaba does same.

Oshiomhole led the Nigerian workers as a labour leader to achieve his personal goal. He survived the antics of the former president Olusegun Obasanjo and made a lot of money by compromising some of his stances while leading the workers.

He was invited severally by the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP to drop the labour robe and embrace real politics, Oshiomhole refused to pitch his tent with the PDP. He used labour platform to get into PDP, know who the crème de la crème in the party but opted for the Action Congress of Nigeria, the party of the former Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.

This is not really the story for today but the politics about the N30, 000 minimum wage and how the leadership of the NLC has been handling the situation.

Waaba is not doing enough. The NLC leadership has been sitting too long with the officials of the Federal Government on this and one is beginning to doubt the sincerity of the NLC president that perhaps he has political ambition just as his predecessor, Oshiomhole.

The NLC’s threat to embark on nationwide strike is more or less a mere noise now that the State governors are defining the minimum wage. The minimum wage was legislated by the federal lawmakers who came up with the idea of N30, 000.

The bill was passed and signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari, making it a national minimum wage. Truly, in a federal system, minimum wages differ from one State to another but in a country that runs a unitary system like Nigeria, this N30, 000 minimum wage is supposed to cut across the 36 States of the federation.

The Nigeria Governors Forum is of the view that the fact that the N30, 000 is the national minimum wage does not make it a general minimum wage that all the State governments must pay. To the governors, the national minimum wage is just a recommended standard and should not bind on States that have no financial capacity to pay.

The question to ask is why did the Federal Government set up the tripartite committee, which comprised the representatives of the State government, local government, the private sector and the NLC to resolve the minimum wage if the resolution will not be binding on all the stakeholders?

Even if some States can pay the minimum wage, how will the NLC and government ensure that employers of labour in the private sector comply with the wage? There are millions of Nigerian workers in the private sector that are underemployed and will not even try to agitate for increment so that they do not lose the job.

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