NLC Writes Gov. Ganduje, Threatens Industrial Unrest Over Stopped Minimum Wage  


THE Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has threatened to embark on industrial unrest in Kano State if the state government does not immediately resume the payment of the N30,000 new national minimum wage, which the government stopped implementing recently on grounds of economic difficulties arising from Covid-19 pandemic.

The NLC, in a letter signed by its President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, and addressed to Kano State governor, Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, expressly demanded that the pay cuts to Kano workers “be stopped forthwith and the shortfalls reimbursed immediately.”

The NLC also asked government to go back to the lawful discharge of its obligation and pay the new minimum wage and the consequential adjustment as collectively bargained with workers.

The Congress accused the government of unilaterally taking the decision to suddenly stop paying workers the new national minimum wage along with the consequential adjustment based on the new wage. “First, your administration suddenly stopped paying workers the new national minimum wage which your state was lauded as one of the first to comply with the provisions of the National minimum Wage Act.

“Second, your administration has reneged on the Collective Bargaining Agreement you reached with workers on the payment of consequential salary adjustment based on the new national minimum wage,” the letter reads.

According to the NLC, the reasons given for the stoppage are as unacceptable as they are illegal and devastating, all amounting to cherry-picking. The letter further reads: “The claims that the reasons for this sudden volte face include the economic crunch occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic loads this debilitating punch thrown at poor workers with quantum ferocity.

“Your Excellency, as an expert in our laws, knows quite well that no one in our country has the privilege of cherry picking which aspect of our laws to obey. The National Minimum Wage Act is a law which must be obeyed by every employer in Nigeria. It is not negotiable. The refusal by any employer to pay the N30,000 new national minimum wage is tantamount to wilful violation of our laws. Persistence in doing so can only be described as a dangerous stroll in “Anarchy” boulevard.

“Kano State has been a shining example of progressive politics in Nigeria. Your Excellency would recall that after the new national minimum wage was signed into law on May 13, 1981, Kano State government under the Late Alhaji Abubakar Rimi without any prompting added Two Naira to the One Hundred and Twenty Five Naira National Minimum Wage. Kano State also went ahead to declare May 1 as public holiday thus becoming the first state to accord workers the honour of a statewide holiday in commemoration of Workers’ Day.

“Since assuming the reins of power in Kano State, Your Excellency has striven to give further verve to the dynamics of progressive politics in Kano State. We urge Your Excellency not to drop the ball now. If there is any time to even increase workers take home, it is now as the impact of the COVID-19 has pauperized millions of workers in the world including many of our compatriots in Nigeria. This is the reason why most countries of the world are supporting their workers and citizens with all manner of palliatives and even salary raises. Why should the case of Nigerian and Kano State workers be different?”

It will be recalled that the Kano State government last week made it public that it had reverted to the payment of N18,000 minimum wage with immediate effect following shortfall in resources available to the government.

Salihu Tanko-Yakasai, spokesperson to Governor Ganduje, was quoted by the media to have stated that owing to the recession caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the state is unable to continue paying N30,000.

“Yes, the state government has stopped the payment of N30,000 minimum wage to its workers with immediate effect. The state government has reverted to the initial minimum wage due to the recession. What we are getting now as a government has reduced and we can’t afford to pay the N30,000 minimum wage,” Tanko-Yakasai was quoted to have said.


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