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PGF DG, Lukman alleges distortions in NLC minimum wage debate

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Dr Salihu Lukman, Director-General Progressive Governors Forum (PGD), has said there are lots of distortions in the current minimum wage debate being championed by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).

He said this in a statement on Friday in Abuja, adding that there was a need to correct the distortions to set the records straight.

According to the PGF DG, the NLC campaign on retaining the minimum wage on the exclusive list was based on deliberate distortions of facts.

Recall that the NLC had protested alleged attempts by lawmakers to remove the minimum wage from the exclusive legislative list under the amended 1999 Constitution.

The NLC claims that moving the minimum wage from the exclusive legislative list to the concurrent list would contravene a provision of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention, which Nigeria is a signatory.

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Lukman, however, noted that ILO convention no. 30 of 1928 Minimum Wage Fixing Machinery Recommendation provides the guiding principles for the determination of minimum wages in all countries.

He said that the convention never stipulated that the process should be the exclusive preserve of federal authorities.

The PGF DG added that the convention allowed for flexibility for each country to apply the guiding principles to its circumstances through consultative processes, taking into consideration all interests in the country’s labour market.

Lukman said one of the distortions that needed to be corrected was that the proposal to transfer the minimum wage to the concurrent legislative list was to stop the payment of N30, 000 minimum wage.

“Although, many state governments and private employers are having difficulty implementing the N30, 000 minimum wage,’’ Lukman said.

“We should separate the problems associated with implementing agreements from the bigger challenge of correcting wrong procedure used in fixing minimum wage in the country.

“Problems of implementing agreements can be addressed with a reference to invoking provisions of the Nigerian arbitration laws, which is what ILO convention 30 of 1928 recommends.’’

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Lukman added, “The earlier NLC leadership retraces their steps and returns to the path of truth and democratic engagement to win the support of Nigerians, including elected representatives, the better.

“Political bullying is antithetical to democracy and is counterproductive to the struggles for a decent wage.’’

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