Port Harcourt — The Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, has appealed to all State Houses of Assembly in the country, to reject the Bill seek to remove the national minimum wage matters from the exclusive list, to the concurrent list, when transmitted to them for passage by the National Assembly.
To this end, NLC on Wednesday led workers in the country on a nationwide protest to all State Houses of Assembly in the country, to press, against the passage of the bill, describing it as anti-labour.
In Rivers State, members of NLC numbering over 1000 marched singing and dancing with banners, from the labour secretariat in D/Line to the Rivers State House of Assembly in Moscow Road, asking the Speaker of the House, Ikwunyi Owaji-Ibani, to trash the Bill.
NLC Chairman, Rivers State, Beatrice Itubo, urged the Speaker to critically consider the effects of the bill on the government’s decades of efforts to reduce poverty in the country if passed, and guide his colleagues aright in dealing with the bill, when sent to them.
“Mr. speaker we appeal to your good judgement to take account of the gravity of the malevolent scheme afoot by some retrogressive elements in the House of Representatives, intervene to guide the members of the state House of assembly aright in case this bill comes before you.
“If this anti-labour bill that seeks to hamstring the nation in her efforts to reduce poverty and inequality is presented to the state House of Assembly, we appeal to your Excellency to kindly refuse assent.”
Clerk of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Stanford Oba, who received the protesters at the entrance of the Assembly, assured them that the message would be fully conveyed to the Speaker.
Oba informed the crowd that the Speaker and his colleagues, especially the principal officers of the House joined Governor Nyesom Wike for project commissioning.
The Bill to move minimum wage from exclusive list to concurrent list, is sponsored by the Lawmaker representing Sabon Gari Federal Constituency, Kano state, in the House of Representatives, Garba Gatti Mohammed and some state Governors.
The Bill is seeking an amendment to make workers minimum wage, a state government concern, against the current national affairs.
But the National Secretariat of the NLC, led by Comrade Ayuba Wabba, has argued that the Bill was not in favour of Nigerian workers, explaining that it would reduce labour unions to State Governors’ footmarts and the workforce to slaves.
Wabba had tasked workers on a one day protests in their states, to express their disagreement, rejection of the “anti-people” bill, already at the ad-hoc committee on constitutional review for possible consideration.
The Union said the protest was its first action to ensure that minimum wage was retained in the exclusive list.