Winning The War Against Wages
Nigeria News takes a look at the N30,000 minimum wage and why Buhari has given his nod.
Expectedly, President Muhammadu Buhari approved the N30,000 minimum wage as demanded by the Nigeria Labour Congress on Tuesday.
This is a fallout of the meeting between the representatives of the Federal Government and the leadership of the NLC on Monday.
The workers were adamant on the N30, 000 minimum wage as against the N22,000 that the government was ready to pay.
It was resolved at the meeting that the tripartite committee should send its report to President Muhammadu Buhari, in which the Labour Union had stood its ground on the N30,000.
The Labour union had shelved the strike action that would have begun on Tuesday, following the involvement of Buhari whom according to the President of NLC, Ayuba Wabba called to appeal to the workers.
But it is not yet Uhuru in that the Buhari’s approval will still have to pass through the National Assembly for ratification before it would finally become a Law.
Before now, the National Assembly had consented to a new minimum wage with an amount that is higher than N30,000 and judging by the body languages of some of the lawmakers, the workers will soon be delighted with the legislative input.
Some of the lawmakers will in no small measure use the current war against minimum wage to score political goals against the All Progressives Congress-led government ahead of the 2019 election.
Currently, the Academic Staff Union of Universities is on strike over the poor state of the country citadels of learning. The lecturers, among other things, are also demanding for a new salary structure.
The civil servants, who had been warming up for a nationwide strike in the last few weeks were disappointed when NLC suspended the action.
But they have the sympathy of the legislators, some of who believe that the N30,000 minimum wage is small compared to the resources of the country.
Let us ask, how will it look if a teacher should take a senator’s salary while senator takes a teacher’s salary, judging by the number of hours each of them are putting to service the government and the masses.
Another question is about the governors who are bent on paying N22,500 as minimum wage. Can they just cut part of their security votes to improve a lot of workers in the country?
The governors are the major obstacle of the minimum wage but now that the tripartite report has been sent to Buhari and the president has forced N30,000 down the throat of the governors, it signifies victory to the workers.
One thing that was sure from the onset was that the present administration would approve a minimum wage.
This is not because Buhari loves the workers but because he will need them for his second term coming next year.
But the dilly-dally about the minimum wage has taken a long time. The major stakeholders did not agree, purposely because they had no economic plan or policy to cater for such demand.
Will the approval of the minimum wage influence the direction of the 2019 election? Definitely, it will in that, it will curry sympathy for the present government despite the pains the workers had experienced.
The workers experience a sudden increase in the petrol pump Price from N85 to N145 on the same N18,000 minimum wage for about three years.
Nigerians suffered the worst FOREX with the exchange rate of dollars to naira standing at N365.
Yet, the workers endure but eagerly awaiting the Buhari’s consent on the new minimum wage.