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No new minimum wage, no election

BY VICTOR AHIUMA-YOUNG, ABDULWAHAB ABDULAH & TORDUE SALEM

LAGOS – THE struggle for the implementation of N18,000 new minimum wage, yesterday, took frightening  dimension as 1,992 leaders of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, in all parts of the country and all sectors of the nation’s economy, resolved that Labour and its allies in the civil society groups would make the conduct of April elections impossible without the implementation of the new minimum wage by all tiers of government.

This came as the House of Representatives, yesterday, passed the Bill for an Act to amend the National Minimum Wage Act to compel employers of labour to pay every employee not less than N18, 000 per month.

Debating the NLC Secretariat’s report on the minimum wage as well as reacting to statement credited to the Chairman of Governors’ Forum, Dr. Bukola Saraki, of Kwara State that many state governments would not be able to pay the new wage, delegates to the ongoing 10th NLC  national congress, vowed to frustrate any attempt to hold the April polls without implementation of the new wage.

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[half_last]Contributors to the report of the General Secretary of NLC, Comrade John Odah, were unanimous that Congress should make the demand for the implementation of the new minimum wage a pre-condition for industrial peace to hold the elections.

The Secretariat report had detailed the journey so far and how a Presidential Tripartite Committee headed by retired Justice Alfa Belgore recommended the minimum wage over a year ago and the difficulties being encountered. It then asked the delegates to discuss it and give further directives.

Part of the report read: “At the moment, the bill to legalise the wage has been forwarded to both Houses of the legislature and in a recent visit by the Central Working Committee of Congress led by Comrade President to the leadership of the House of Representatives, we were assured by the Deputy Speaker who led the other principal officers of the House to receive us that the bill was going to receive accelerated passage.

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