By Efa Sunday
Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Cross River State chapter, Comrade John Ushie has tasked both private and public employers to adhere strictly to the wage benchmark of thirty thousand naira, as approved by the National Assembly on Tuesday this week.
He made this call in an exclusive interview with CrossRiverWatch in Calabar he expressed delight in the progress made so far by the National Legislature.
He also intimated that NLC will set stringent measures in place to checkmate defaulters, aside the seventy-five thousand naira fine put out by the Federal Government.
He said, “Minimum wage is set for both private and public sector and that is why during negotiation all the parties were involved. The thirty thousands naira we are discussing now is a product of the private sector’s agreement. The Public sector (Federal Government), set the benchmark for the private sector, which include the private employers. And it is important for them to know that there is a seventy-five thousands naira fine set by the Federal Government for all the defaulters, but apart from the fine, labour will set our own means to ensure that they pay”.
Explaining further, Ushie said “Before, we were looking at employers having up to about fifty workers, but that has been removed to enable the employer employ the number of people he or she can pay. If you are a worker and you work in the private sector, you should not earn less than thirty thousands naira. You can earn more but you can’t earn less.
“For instance, a worker of level one step one, which is equivalent to a Secondary School Certificate holder or a cleaner cannot earn less than NGN30, 000 but that is not the same money an NCE holder or a graduate would earn,” he added.
Giving the panacea to the recurrent strike actions, he stressed the need for Government to engage labour at least a year before the wage will be due for review, adding that the unnecessary delay brings about inflation.
“Government themselves are not ready to pay minimum wage, we are not the only country that review our wages. An agreement has been made, it is a law and it is binding on both parties. All they need to do is for them to prepare that at least by next year we are supposed to review the wages. They should begin by this year to invite labour so that we can sit down and begin to discuss. If that is done, there will be no strike.
“If they have the interest of workers at heart, knowing that workers are the engine room of the society, they will be able to prepare maybe one and a half year to the expiration of the five years, and then you will see that there will be peace and this will be done without causing inflation.” He said.
He therefore called on President Muhammadu Buhari to give assent to the bill in order for it to be implemented as soon as possible, while calling on Cross Riverians to be patient with labour, promising that what is due them will be given in no time he maintained that he will not cut corners and will always be on the people’s side.
Since You Are Here, Support Good Journalism
CrossRiverWatch was founded on the ideals of deploying tech tools to report in an ethical manner, news, views and analysis with a narrative that ensures transparency in governance, a good society and an accountable democracy.
Everyone appreciates good journalism but it costs a lot of money. Nonetheless, it cannot be sacrificed on the altar of news commercialisation.
Consider making a modest contribution to support CrossRiverWatch's journalism of credibility and integrity in order to ensure that all have continuous free access to our noble endeavor.