National Assembly, Labour unions meet today to tackle minimum wage bill crisis

The leadership of the National Assembly and the organised labour are to meet today (Tuesday) over a bill in the House of Representatives seeking an amendment to the 1999 Constitution by removing matters relating to wages from the Exclusive Legislative List to the Concurrent Legislative List.

Leaders of the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trace Union Congress had led a protest march to the National Assembly last week Wednesday, while their state chapters also held rallies across the country over the proposed decentralisation of the national minimum wage.

Majority Leader of the House, Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, while addressing the workers, who stormed the National Assembly Complex after a protest rally around the Abuja metropolis, said the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, who was in Lagos, had fixed a meeting between the lawmakers and the labour unions for Tuesday.

Ado-Doguwa had represented the Speaker; and Deputy Chief Whip of the Senate, Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, represented the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan. They were accompanied by some principal officers and members of both chambers.

Ado-Doguwa said, “He (Gbajabiamila) has also told me to tell you, through the presidents of the organised labour, that he will organise a joint meeting of the National Assembly leadership with the leadership of the organised labour on Tuesday next week, so that this matter can be treated in a manner that Nigerians want.”

When contacted around 3pm on Monday, the sponsor of the bill, Mr Garba Datti Muhammad, said he was neither invited to the meeting nor aware of any meeting to be held with labour today (Tuesday).

When asked if he was invited, the lawmaker said, “Nobody invited me.” When asked if he was supposed to be at the meeting, he said, “Yes, I should.”

Muhammad was contacted against around 9pm to confirm if he had eventually been invited. He said he had not and that he was not aware if the meeting would hold.

“I am only hearing about it from you,” he said.

The Majority Leader could not be reached on Monday to confirm if the meeting would still hold as planned. He did not pick calls made to his telephone line and did not reply a message sent to him.

The Chairman of the House Committee on Labour, Ali Wudil, could also not be reached as his line indicated that it was switched off

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