Former Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Kwara State Council, Emmanuel AyeoribeA former Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Kwara State Council, Emmanuel Ayeoribe says labour will paralyse activities in states that are not ready to implement the new minimum wage and negotiate the consequential adjustment. He spoke to COLLINS OLAYINKA.
WHAT do you make of the Governors’ Forum claims that they are not bound by the outcome of the negotiations on minimum wage between labour and the Federal Government?
I think the argument of the Governors’ Forum is a misplaced one; misplaced in the sense that when it comes to workers’ salaries, we tend towards federalism, but on other issues we erode that philosophy. It is either we adopt federalism wholeheartedly, or we jettison it. The governors cannot in one breadth proclaim federalism when it favours them, but shift away as soon as the situation does not favour them.
Moreso, the issue of salary is on the Concurrent List, it is not what only states can determine. As far as I am concerned, there is no way they can run away from it. The other flip side of the matter is that if it was on the political side, whatever politicians in Sokoto, Yobe or Jigawa states earn, is the same thing that politicians in Lagos, Bayelsa, Rivers and Delta states would earn. On that front, there is no controversy, but whenever it concerns what workers have to take home, unheard grammar will begin to emerge from the political class. There is no federalism in what the political class earns, but there is federalism in what workers earn. This is the joke that Nigeria has been living in for decades.