Workers in Plateau State, organized by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), took to the streets on Wednesday to oppose a bill that would change the national minimum wage from exclusive to concurrent list.
The staff also argued that changing the minimum wage from exclusive to concurrent status was anti-worker and should be abolished.
Staff protested in large numbers at the State House of Assembly, where they were met by Speaker Rt. Hon. Abok Ayuba.
Plateau NLC Vice Chairman, Comrade Sunday Akin, speaking at the State Assembly complex, said the protest was called by the national leadership of the NLC and TUC over minimum wage, petroleum product hoarding, and a decision to create a State Judiciary Council (SJC).
According to him,”Congress condemned in its entirety the idea of sponsoring a bill that would remove the minimum wage from the Exclusive Legislative List to Concurrent Legislative list.”
“State governments have the right to have their own minimum wage so far the wages are not below the national minimum wage.”
“The bill sponsored by a member of the House of Representatives, Rep. Garba Datti Mohammed, representing Sabon Gari Federal Constituency, Kaduna, marked HB 950, has passed its 1st and 2nd reading in February 2021.”
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“Mr speaker, we are here to present the position of Plateau workers concerning the three issues,” he said.
“This bill is anti workers and it must be discarded”, he maintained.
If the bill hits them, the vice chairman urged the speaker, as well as the Plateau Legislature, to oppose it.
Also speaking, TUC’s Alhaji Abubakar Umar said that the bill was harmful to workers’ interests, especially in Plateau.
The staff, according to Umar, are optimistic that the bill would not be endorsed by the Plateau House Assembly.
Speaker of the House, Ayuba, replied by thanking the staff for their peaceful actions.
He said, “The issue of amendment of law is a process, it must pass through the two chambers of National Assembly before its gets to state houses of assemblies.”
“Once it finally comes, we will call the stakeholders and discuss with you before we take a position”, he assured.
“Plateau House of Assembly has never failed workers, even when the bill for the autonomy for local governments came we passed it in Plateau,” the Speaker stressed.