Issa Aremu Rejects Bill Seeking To Remove Minimum Wage From Exclusive List
A former vice president of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Mr Issa Aremu, has condemned the proposed bill to remove the National Minimum Wage from the exclusive list of the Federal Government to concurrent list.
Addressing a news conference in Kaduna on Monday, he described the bill as diversionary, saying it must be rejected by all people of good conscience.
Aremu stated that the National Minimum Wage was a settled issue and asked members of the National Assembly and governors in various states to suspend the bill for the sake of industrial harmony and development.
He also advised the lawmakers and governors to renew their social contract with their constituencies by improving the welfare of workers.
The former NLC vice president stressed that the bill, sponsored by a member of the House of Representatives from Sabon Gari Federal Constituency in Kaduna State, Garba Datti, indicated a scandalous disconnect between some representatives and the people they claim to represent.
He decried that it was unacceptable that some legislators lacked sufficient knowledge of the 1999 Constitution after 21 years of the uninterrupted democratic process.
According to Aremu, the Constitution rightly puts critical factors of development like labour, capital, and land on the exclusive list with a view of promoting a planned and balanced economic development of the country.
He commended President Muhammadu Buhari for following in the footsteps of his predecessors to increase the minimum wage as part of the agenda for decent work growth and development.
The activist said it was a disgrace that some governors were clamouring for the exclusive right to determine minimum pay below the national minimum.
He believes the action of such governors shows a collapse of governance at sub-national levels.
Members of the NLC and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) had marched into the National Assembly on Wednesday last week to protest against moves by lawmakers to remove minimum wage matters from the exclusive legislative list to the concurrent legislative list.
The controversial bill scaled the second reading at the House of Representatives in February without a public hearing, a situation labour watchers said lacked transparency and accountability.