Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on Monday threatened to boycott the 2019 general election should the Nigerian government fail to activate a new minimum wage.
Nigeria’s current minimum wage is N18,000 approved in 2008 by late president Umar Musa Ya’aruda’s administration.
NLC assistant secretary in charge of information, Denja Yakub, who spoke on Nigeria Info FM, Lagos programme ‘Morning Crossfire’, said labour had been patient with government enough.
“All this the governors and ministers are saying – they are trying to politicise it and if it continues – no vote from Nigerian workers,” Yakub said.
“No minimum wage, no vote from Nigerian workers.”
In a series of irresolute meetings between the government and labour unions, NLC had insisted on an improvement to N30,000, while state governors said they were incapable of paying workers that amount.
While the NLC has planned a nationwide protest for Tuesday, January 7, Yakub said the attitude of the governors was unbecoming and that they must be held accountable.
He said the government were not committed to increasing minimum wage “because we don’t owe them accountable, they feel they have the ability to manipulate people’s intelligence.”
While lamenting displeasure at the unresolved negotiations, Yakub said it was disheartening that the tripartite committee that proposed the N30,000 minimum wage consists of NLC members, the federal government, state governors and the private sector.
“Government actively participated. What was collectively agreed upon was 30,000. We didn’t have anything less than 30,000 and that is what has been taken to the president (Buhari) to be enacted into law.”
“We didn’t impose a figure, we negotiated the figure and it was proposed with all members of the committee as provided by law. They cant bend the rules,” Yakub said.
Yakub, however, warned the Buhari government and Zamfara State governor Abdul-Aziz Yari Abubakar, who is the chairman of Nigeria Governors Forum, to avoid playing politics with minimum wage negotiations.
“Whatever politics the government and governors, especially Yari, who can’t even manage his state has been going up and down playing politics with the minimum wage – you can’t play politics with minimum wage,” Yakub said.