President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Ayuba Wabba, has described position taken by governors that they cannot afford N30,000 minimum wage as an expression of a class war they are waging against workers.
He reiterated the resolve of organised labour not to accept anything less than N30,000 minimum wage for Nigerian workers, adding, “And we have directed workers to vote out any state governor or his successor who says he is not ready to pay.”
He said the governors’ position that states did not have capacity to pay was a distraction which organised labour would not fall for.
The governors, after report of the tripartite committee set up by the Federal Government which proposed N30,000 minimum wage was submitted to President Buhari, had expressed a position that many of the states lacked the wherewithal to pay such.
But the labour leader, who spoke in Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital, on Saturday, said, “The governors may not care about workers because they are getting humongous security votes. A councillor who has no certificates receives more than a PhD holder. I want to believe this is a class contestation and we are up to the task.”
The NLC president spoke at the 75th birthday anniversary of Johnson Ogunseeyin, former chairman of Medical and Health Union of Nigeria, Ekiti Chapter, an occasion graced by labour leaders in the state, led by the NLC Chairman, Ade Adesanmi. Others at the event included the Secretary, Joint Negotiating Council, Blessing Oladele, and the Ekiti State Head of Service, Dr Gbenga Faseluka.
While praising about six governors, who had promised to pay the N30,000 minimum wage, Wabba challenged those saying they could not pay “to go to their states and tell workers and pensioners that they won’t pay.”
He said, “In case the governors do not know, the police, those in the Department of State Services and Nigerian Army that are providing security for them (governors), as well as the Nigerian populace, are involved in this minimum wage issue. So, we consider their refusal to comply as a way to divert our attention.
“I consider the governors’ position as a trick that is not new to us. We consider this as an afterthought. This agitation started last year November, even when the review was supposed to take place in 2016. The governors were asked to send memoranda and 21 states complied.”