By Samuel Oyadongha
THE Bayelsa State House of Assembly has thrown its weight behind the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) opposition to the move by the House of Representatives to scuttle the minimum wage law.
Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Rt Hon Abraham Ingobere made this known Wednesday when leaders of the unions led their members to the assembly complex to present a letter to the House.
Ingobere, represented by Ebiowou Koku-Obiyal, representing Yenagoa Constituency II a former NLC state chairman, assured that the legislature would do the needful when the bill got to them.
He described the attempt to transfer the minimum wage law from the exclusive list to concurrent list as a constitutional matter and that before taking any action, the bill would come to the House.
His words, “I want to say that we are in this together. It is clear that this is a constitutional matter and, definitely, for the Federal Government to take any action, it would come to the state Houses of Assembly since we represent constituents who are also workers.”
Earlier, NLC state chairman, John Ndiomu, read the letter he presented to the Speaker saying the “bill is tantamount to a negation of the efforts of the Nigerian working class in the past forty years to free itself from the cruel manacles of slave wages, savagery working conditions and slave drivers.”
Ndiomu described the national minimum wage as a tool for social inclusion and listed three reasons on the implications of moving the minimum wage from the exclusive to the concurrent list of the constitution.
He argued that the move would be a licence for state governors to drag the country to the era of ridiculous slave wages, result in exponential of working-class poor.
He, therefore, urged the Speaker to use his good judgement to take account of the gravity as it would impede Nigeria’s efforts to reduce poverty and inequality and propel labour to embark on several industrial actions.