The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) yesterday told its state councils to commence immediate negotiation with the governors on implementation of the consequential adjustment of the new national minimum wage.
The NLC president, Ayuba Wabba, gave this directive while speaking at the 2019 NLC national leadership retreat in Enugu, yesterday.
He also remarked that other countries of the world are poaching the best brains from Nigeria because the Nigerian environment is not competitive enough to retain its best.
He said, “We call on all our State Councils to offer the needed leadership and work harmoniously with the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council (JNPSNC) to ensure effective implementation of the new national minimum wage and consequential salary adjustment which must be reached through a process of collective bargaining.
“While commending state governments that have already commenced implementation of the new national minimum wage, we urge that the implementation should be a product of collective bargaining process in line with ILO Convention 98 on Organizing and Collective Bargaining. We also implore all employers of labour to ensure that the necessary formalities for smooth implementation of the negotiated salaries based on the new national minimum wage are carried out diligently.”
Wabba also said workers in Nigeria must prepare themselves for the challenges posed by technological advancement, climate change and globalisation in the future of work.
“With the advent of globalisation, the world is becoming more and more of a global village. And we cannot retain our best if the environment is not competitive enough. Today, what drives the world is knowledge. We have seen that around the world, our best are stolen because we cannot retain them if we don’t have a good package to retain them,” he said.
Wabba explained that the retreat provides an opportunity for workers and labour leaders to restrategize on how to prepare workers for the impending challenge in the future of work
He said, “Specifically, we must devise sustainable strategies to strengthen our unions especially in the areas of finance and investments. We must ensure that indecent work in our workplaces are tackled. We must ensure that today’s and tomorrow’s work is properly fitted with the paraphernalia of decent contracts, universal labour guarantee, living wages, paid leave allowances and humane hours of work. We must find innovative ways to deal with employers stuck in the stone age
“We are gathered here today to examine, brainstorm and discuss to proffer pragmatic ideas to the challenges of today and fears of tomorrow confronting Nigerian workers. As leaders, we owe it as a duty to our followers to go beyond providing solutions to the problem of today but also to prepare answers to the questions of tomorrow.
“Technology comes with challenge and opportunity. Workers around the world and particularly in Nigeria cannot be left behind. We should prepare for it now.”
Wabba noted that while Labour leaders attempt to answer the questions posed by the future of work, they should be anxious to dispose all or most of the concerns that exist in the contemporary world of work.
He expressed regret that “in this era, our workers still face the indignity of indecent work. In this age and time, our workers are forced to beg for their salaries which are owed in arrears.”
Wabba said while other counties had developed and automated the process of minimum wage adjustments and are now focused on living wage, Nigerian workers are forced to bargain too hard and wait for too long to get a meagre increase in minimum wage and adjustment in salaries
In his address, the Enugu State governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi commended the NLC leaders for organising the retreat and tasked them to take advantage of the retreat to improve themselves.
He assured that the state government was committed to ensuring improved welfare for workers in the state.
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