The president of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba, has told governors who feel the proposed new minimum wage of N30,000 is too much to resign.
He said such Governors are not worthy of holding public offices, adding that the consequences of workers retrenchment will be too grievous for any political office holder.
Speaking in an interview with Tribune, Wabba stated that Governors should also subject their humongous salaries and allowances since they want to enslave Nigerian workers.
The Labour leader said that workers have been educated to vote out any individual or political party that refuses to pay the new minimum wage.
He said, ‘Since a few of them are bent on enslaving Nigerian workers with peanuts as salaries, they must subject their humongous salaries and allowances, which available facts and figures have shown are among the highest in the world, pro rata with the minimum wage they want to force down the throats of Nigerian workers.
“Yes, we have insisted that the governors should go to their respective states and inform workers and their families of their individual positions on the new national minimum wage of N30,000.
“They should tell their workers and their families that they cannot afford N30,000 as their monthly salaries.
“Alhaji Yari should desist from using the platform of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum to seek political relevance.
“His tactics of blackmail against workers are already timeworn and the stench is already offensive.
“The leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress and Organised Labour urge workers to remain steadfast and firm on our rights to decent wages and improved living conditions. To the oppressors, we have only one answer for you – we will never sleep on our rights.
“We are now reiterating our directive to Nigerian workers to vote out any politician or political party that refuses to pay the new national minimum wage of N30,000.
“We shall continue to consolidate our efforts to strengthen already existing platforms and structures to give teeth to our resolve to vote out anti-labour governors and other politicians in the forthcoming 2019 general election.
“This is why as Organised Labour and Nigerian workers, we have called on President Muhammadu Buhari to be wary of some people, especially in the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, who, because for their selfish and personal reasons, are presenting him as an anti-worker president and orchestrating anti-Buhari sentiments in the populace.
“We have also called on him to speedily transmit the bill on the National Minimum Wage to the National Assembly for appropriate amendment and implementation.
“Even after the submission of the report, you heard people like [Governor Nasir] el-Rufai saying that states should pay what they could afford.
“But he has forgotten that in the case of the political elites, it is not what they can afford that they are paying to themselves.
“In fact, they are paying higher than what is prescribed by the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission.
“Most of them are paying higher than what the commission prescribed for political officeholders. Their severance package is so humongous; it is not contained in the provision of the commission.
“We will also follow up on this argument. It is a national minimum wage, not a state minimum wage. It is under the Exclusive List of the constitution and as such, no state can go outside of it to pay ridiculous a salary.
“It will be a violation of the constitution and we will be ready to take them up. Any governor that cannot abide by the constitution should step aside.
“If you can’t conform to the constitution, you should not hold a public office. Holding a public office suggests that you have sworn to uphold the constitution, so if you violate the constitution, you are not worthy to hold that public office.
“The threat by the governor of Zamfara State that the governors would sack workers before they can pay N30,000 national minimum wage cannot be used to intimidate labour. Threat to sack workers is not new in the struggle for a review of the national minimum wage in Nigeria.
“However, they must know that the consequences of workers retrenchment are too grievous for any political officeholder truly elected by the people to contemplate.
“In any case, we have made it known that the Governors Forum is illegal. The 1999 Constitution (as amended) only recognises individual states in the Collective Bargaining Process and not Nigeria Governors Forum.”