Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in the 2019 Presidential elections, Atiku Abubakar has promised to pay workers a living wage if elected into power.
This is even as the former Vice President lauded federal government agreement to pay a minimum wage of ₦30,000 previously negotiated with the Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, the Trade Union Congress, TUC, and other labour affiliates.
In a press statement by the Atiku Presidential Campaign Organization, APCO, the PDP candidate said his plan for the Nigerian workers would be made known in his manifesto expected to be launched in the weeks ahead.
“The Nigerian worker is the goose that lays the golden egg and is worthy of the best pay that Nigeria can afford,” the statement read in part.
The former Vice President commended the patriotism displayed by the leadership of the Nigerian Labour Congress and its affiliates in calling off the planned nationwide strike even as he called on the National Assembly to speedily pass legislation that makes the new Minimum Wage a statutory requirement.
“No sacrifice is too great to make for us to Get Nigeria Working Again and that is what APCO is all about. Atiku means JOBS, jobs that would pay the minimum wage and above because Nigeria should benefit the masses and not those who are in top government positions,” it added.
Meanwhile, more facts emerged yesterday, on how the N30,000 new minimum wage sailed through at Monday’s meeting of the Tripartite National Minimum Wage Committee.
This came as President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, bowed to pressure from the labour movement in the country, promising to set machinery in motion to close the gap between the N24,000 proposed by the Federal Government and the N30,000 put forward by organized labour as soon as possible.
Vanguard gathered that majority of members of the committee presented superior arguments to the dissenting governors and Federal Government representatives on why the N30, 000 must be adopted.
According to a member of the committee, because the tripartite committee is like a tripod, after organized labour and Organized Private Sector, OPS, reached understanding on N30,000, there was really nothing the other leg of the tripod could do, as majority will always have their way, while the minority will have their say.
He said: “We told the governors that they had the opportunity to canvass their position during committee sittings but failed to do so. We also asked the governors to tell us when they really met to agree on N22,500, since no fewer than five governors had told us that they will pay. We showed them the evidence. ‘’We made the governors to realize that the proposal of N22,500 was an afterthought conceived by some of them. What we did was to acknowledge the N24,000 by the Federal Government and made them to understand that the committee report is N30.000. “
Meanwhile, we gathered from some of the governors that they would go to the National Assembly to canvass their position during the public hearing that will be organized by the lawmakers. “In fact, we are even hoping that the National Assembly will raise the figure because N30,000 is just a compromise figure. I can tell you that for the governors and the Federal Government, many of the private sector representatives actually agreed with us to raise the figure to N36,000.
“The issue is that the majority will have their way, while the minority will have their say. The committee is a tripartite one made up of three legs. When the two legs of the tripod have agreed, the third leg cannot change the decision reached. That was what happened.”
Promising to set machinery in motion to close the gap between the N24,000 minimum wage proposed by the Federal Government and the N30,000 put forward by organized labour, the President added that the arguments of government and organized labour on the two figures are valid.