. Kicks against exclusion of labour from Exclusive Legislative list
The Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) has condemned plans by the All Progressives Congress (APC), led by the Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, who recommended that Labour should be removed from Exclusive Legislative list to the Concurrent list.
Describing it as a plot to deregulate wages in the guise of restructuring the polity.
In a statement by the body, the ASCSN National President, Comrade Bobboi Bala Kaigama, and the Secretary-General, Comrade Alade Bashir Lawal, urged President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Assembly to reject the recommendation of the committee, arguing that if wages and other labour-related matters were removed from the Exclusive Legislative List, governors, most of who are not paying their workers’ salaries, would use the opportunity to further impoverish Nigerian workers and their families.
”We, therefore, believe that labour, like other institutions such as the Army, The Navy, The Airforce, Nigeria Customs Service, immigration, among others, are symbols of national unity and should accordingly be retained in the Exclusive Legislative list,” the Union added.
The ASCSN chieftains recalled that the Chairman of the Committee, Governor El-Rufai had been waging a war of attrition against trade unions in Kaduna State and at a time, tried to dissolve all trade unions thereby demanding that thousands of workers in the state should re-apply to join any trade union of their choice, contrary to the extent labour laws, judicial pronouncements, and Conventions 87 and 98 of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) on the right of workers to organise and collective bargaining.
He said, “As we speak, he has issued a circular stopping check-off deductions from salaries of union members in the state.
”Recently, Governor El-Rufai, in continuation of his anti-workers agenda, sacked 21,000 teachers apart from other atrocities he has been unleashing on helpless workers in the state.
”Thus, it is not surprising that the Kaduna State governor has used the cover of the APC restructuring panel to want to completely decimate the trade unions in Nigeria by recommending that wages and other related labour issues should be moved from the Exclusive Legislative List to the Concurrent list.
This will give El-Rufai and his fellow governors the opportunity to start paying peanuts to their workers as wages or no salary at all,” the Union noted.
The ASCSN leaders warned that anarchy would prevail in the industrial relations arena in the country if millions of workers in the 36 states of the Federation would start to form their own trade unions and wondered how many trade unions would exist in the state and how negotiation would be carried out.
According to the ASCSN, countries of the world that have National Minimum Wage include but not limited to: United States (US), $15,080 per annum; United Kingdom (UK), $20,063 per annum; Australia, $26,862 per annum; Albania, $2,320 per annum; Argentina, $8,368 per annum; the Bahamas, $10,920 per annum; Brazil, $3,491 per annum.
Others are Canada, $17,027 per annum; Fiji, $3,189 per annum; Hong Kong, $9,245 per annum; Iran, $3,610 per annum; Ireland, $21,199 per annum; South Korea, $13, 499 per annum; Morocco, $3,664 per annum; Cape Verde, $1,565 per annum; Republic of Congo, $1,821 per annum; Equatorial Guinea $2,611 per annum; Nigeria, $591 per annum.
The union leaders regretted that the El-Rufai panel could not conduct any research to establish the fact that all countries of the world have a national minimum wage.
The ASCSN then urged the National Assembly, Civil Society groups, religious leaders, prominent citizens, royal fathers, among others, to rise up and reject the attempt by the APC through Governor El-Rufai to further impoverish millions of workers and their families by removing wages and other labour related issues from the Exclusive Legislative List to the Concurrent list.
In a related development, the Nigeria Civil Service Union (NCSU) has urged the tripartite committee on minimum wage to speed up the negotiation process for the benefit of workers.
Its new President, Lawrence Amaechi, who said this in Abuja after his election, said the welfare of members of the union would be his watchword.
His words: “As an affiliate of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), our administration will support and collaborate with the Congress and other affiliate unions in all matters affecting Nigerian workers and the masses in general.
“We are aware that the new National Minimum Wage for Nigerian workers is long overdue. I, therefore, call on the tripartite committee on minimum wage to fast-track its work in order to put smiles on the faces of the suffering workers as justice delayed is justice denied, and minimum wage delayed is minimum wage denied.”