Reps, Labour Leaders Meet, Seek Amendment To Controversial Minimum Wage Bill

The leaderships of the House of Representatives and the organised labour are reportedly in a meeting over a bill in the lower legislative chamber seeking an amendment to the 1999 Constitution. 

According to a Punch report, representatives from both sides are seeking to remove matters relating to wages from the Exclusive Legislative List to the Concurrent Legislative List.

The bill, if passed and signed into law, will decentralise the current national minimum wage solely determined by the Nigerian government and allow state and local governments to determine the wage to pay their workers.

Present at the meeting was Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila; Majority Leader, Alhassan Ado-Doguwa; Deputy Majority Leader, Peter Akpatason; sponsor of the bill, Garba Datti Muhammad; and representatives of relevant committees of the House.

The President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Ayuba Wabba, was also present.

Last Wednesday, leaders of the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress had led a protest to the National Assembly, while their state chapters also held rallies across the country over the proposed decentralisation of the national minimum wage.

Ado-Doguwa, while addressing the workers, who stormed the National Assembly Complex after a protest rally around the Abuja metropolis, had said the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, who he said was in Lagos, had fixed a meeting between the lawmakers and the labour unions for Tuesday.

To address the protesters, Ado-Doguwa had represented the Speaker; and Deputy Chief Whip of the Senate, Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, represented President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan. They were accompanied by some principal officers and members of both chambers.

Ado-Doguwa said, “He (Gbajabiamila) has also told me to tell you, through the presidents of the organised labour, that he will organise a joint meeting of the National Assembly leadership with the leadership of the organised labour on Tuesday next week so that this matter can be treated in a manner that Nigerians want.”

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