The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) has recommended the retention of the national minimum wage on the exclusive legislative list.
The Kano State Chairman of NLC council, Kabiru Minjibir, gave the recommendation at a two-day zonal public hearing for the proposed amendment of the provisions of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria on Wednesday in Kaduna.
Mr Minjibir, who represented the NLC zone comprising Kaduna, Kano, Jigawa and Katsina states, said their submissions at different constitution review engagements were anchored on promoting inclusive socio-economic development.
“We also try to promote decent work, gender equality, respect for labour standards, good governance and strengthening of institutions,” he said.
He said that their submission for the minimum wage to remain in the exclusive legislative list was to ensure it remained implemented at the federal level and not brought down to the state where governors decide what to pay their workers.
“If the minimum wage is brought under the discretion of the state governors, then there will come a time when they will not pay their workers at all or they will decide to pay less of what it is being paid currently.
“Labour matters are governed by international standards as prescribed by the International Labour Organisation (ILO),” he said.
Mr Minjibir said that once the ILO adopted any international labour standard, especially its conventions and protocols, it was demanded of member states through their national parliaments to ratify and domesticate them in their national laws not sub-national or state laws.
He called on the government to critically address the issue of pension reform, judicial, local government and legislative autonomy as part of resolutions in the constitutional review.
According to him, if autonomy is granted to judiciary and local government, it will bring about massive development in public organisations and the lives of the people in general.
“The issues of electoral reform, gender equality, public revenue allocation, strengthening independence of oversight institutions, residency and indigene provisions, the immunity clause and state creation should also be critically looked into,” he said.
(Cambridge University Press, January, 2021) By Professor Damilola S. Olawuyi, SAN, FCIArb, Professor of Law and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti
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