Trade Union Congress(TUC) of Nigeria has condemns plans by the Senate to devolve more powers to the 36 States of the Federation by moving some items including wages from the 68 items in the exclusive legislative list to the concurrent legislative list to allow State Houses of Assembly legislate on them.
In a statement signed President of the organisation¸ Comrade Bobboi Bala Kaigama and Comrade Musa Lawal President and Secretary General of TUC respectively said the move will create more industrial crises since some states are yet to implement the N18, 000 minimum wage even after President Goodluck Jonathan has signed it into law since March 2011.
“As it stands today, we still have issues with some states over the new wage structure. For instance, there had been serious crises in Plateau and Enugu states because of their refusal of to implement the law. The question we ask when issues of this nature arise is: do Nigerian workers and lawmakers buy from different markets? The answer is “no”. How do we send our children to school? How do we pay our rents? How do we pay our fares to work, market, church, mosque, etc or how do those who are privileged to have a car fuel it? It is wrong for politicians to attempt to toy with the destinies of Nigerian workers”, the TUC queried.
The TUC explained that the average Nigerian worker is struggling to survive adding that if states are allowed to determine what they pay to their workers it means the future of the Nigerian workers have been mortgaged.
“ Over the years, the claim by defaulting governments has that they cannot pay the N18, 000 minimum wage because they are not oil producing states, whereas a sitting Senator from Kaduna state earns the same salary and allowances as does a sitting Senator from the Niger Delta. For us these arguments are baseless because what is sauce for the goose is also sauce for the gander”, the statement said.
To ensure peaceful industrial atmosphere, the TUC said the issue of wage should remain in the exclusive list so that states do not mortgage the destinies of workers and their wards.
“In the alternative, the congress proposes a significant restructuring of the revenue allocation formula in favour of the states so that they can effectively shoulder the added responsibility of increased wage payment”, the union said.