President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Mr. Ayuba Wabba on Saturday threatened to embark on a mass industrial action if the proposed bill which seeks to transfer minimum wage to the concurrent list is passed by the National Assembly.
Mr Wabba made the remark during an event organised to mark Workers’ Day in Abuja.
“There have been attempts by a section the ruling class to remove the national minimum wage from Exclusive Legislative list to the concurrent list,” he said.
“This is condemnable. The national minimum wage is a global standard.
“Therefore, we are reinforcing our earlier position to state that Nigerian workers will not allow a situation where the progress we have made for the past 40 years to be taken by these group of politicians we are going to insist that any day that this law is considered by any of the chambers, Nigerian workers are going to withdraw their services.”
He also said Kaduna workers will withdraw their services for five days in protest of the sacking of workers by the Kaduna State Government.
If the workers are not reinstated, Mr Wabba stressed, there will be a total shutdown.
Meanwhile Minister of Labour, Chris Ngige, who was representing President Muhammadu Buhari at the event, said the new minimum wage law applies to everyone, and state governments are bound by it.
He added that he is opposed to moving the minimum wage from the exclusive legislative list to the concurrent list.
The minimum wage bill is being sponsored by Garba Datti, an APC lawmaker from Kaduna.
The bill passed second reading at the House of Representatives in February.
According to Datti, rather than impose a central minimum wage, states should have the capacity to decide their own wages, based on their own socio-economic variables and circumstance.
However, the NLC has described the bill as anti-worker.
On March 10, NLC members staged a protest at the Unity Fountain in Abuja before marching to the National Assembly complex to demand the bill’s withdrawal.