The leadership of the Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, has said it will not hesitate to shut down the country with a nationwide strike if a bill seeking to amend the Constitution to remove the minimum wage from the exclusive list and placed in the concurrent list is passed into law.
The President of the NLC, Ayuba Wabba, gave the warning when he led members in a protest march to the National Assembly on Wednesday.
The protesters marched on the National Assembly from their take-off point at the Unity Fountain and occupied the Citizens Gallery, where Wabba addressed the workers.
Wabba said the workers’ union action was prompted by a bill seeking to amend the Constitution to remove the National Minimum Wage from the Exclusive Legislative List to enable the state government determine their minimum wage.
The bill was sponsored by a member of the House of Representatives, Garuba Datti Muhammad, representing Sabon-Gari Federal Constituency of Kaduna State.
The workers’ union kicked vehemently against the bill, which they believed will decentralize workers’ wages in the country, and not in line with international best practices.
According to the NLC, removing the National Minimum Wage from the Exclusive Legislative List is a declaration of war on Nigerian workers, which they are prepared to resist by all means necessary.
The NLC brought other grievances to the doorstep of their elected representatives; as it kicked against the non-implementation of financial autonomy for State Legislature and the Judiciary, as provided for in Section 121(3) of the Constitution and Presidential Order 10, signed in 2020.
The organized labour frowned at the rising spate of insecurity in the country, that has continued to manifest in the form of kidnappings and banditry.
On fuel scarcity, the NLC called on the Federal Government as a matter of urgency, to fix the country’s refineries.
Addressing the workers, the Deputy Chief Whip of the Senate, Abdullahi Sabi, said the National Assembly will not take any action inimical to their interest.
He told the workers not to exercise any worry about the National Minimum Wage bill, which has scaled second reading in the House of Representatives, pointing out that, a similar bill in the 8th Senate never saw the light of the day.
(Editor: Ifeanyi Mark)