New Minimum Wage: Labour Moves Against Defaulting Govs

The organised labour has proposed stiff penalties for state governors who are not willing to pay the current minimum wage of N18,000. This is contained in new memorandum submitted to the tripartite committee negotiating the new minimum wage of N65,000. While some states currently owe workers backlog of salaries and pension, Labour, in the memorandum obtained by our correspondent, recalled that the Justice Belgore-led tripartite committee which negotiated the current N18,000 minimum wage in 2011 had recommended a comprehensive review of the prescribed penalties for non-compliance to serve as effective deterrents. It said it is unfortunate that, in amending the Act in 2011, these recommendations were not taken on board. “It is our recommendation that these penalties be comprehensively reviewed upwards and the legal framework for their enforcement strengthened,” the memo stated. The organised labour had in a joint memorandum proposed a new package of N66,500 as new minimum wage, citing rising cost of living in the country as reason for the new package. Other issues being proposed for review include the number of employees an employer needs to employ before he can pay the minimum wage. The memorandum reads in part: “In the present Act as amended in 2011, minimum wage coverage is applicable to employers who employ at least 50 workers. This provision is problematic and allows undue exploitation of workers. “Best international practice is that the minimum wage law should apply to all workers. Our recommendation is, therefore that this limitation be expunged from the law. “

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