The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has called for a downward review of salaries of political office holders.
The union also explained the levels of implementation of the minimum wage by the states.
It’s call follows the recent move by the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) to review salaries of political office holders with “current realities” in the country.
The NLC president, Ayuba Wabba, said this during a press briefing held in Abuja on Tuesday.
He said political office holders in Nigeria are being overpaid, and ”the salaries of our political elite are much higher than any other in the world.”
“I was thinking that wage review should be upward or downwards, but in the case of our political elites, it should be downwards,” he said.
He said that in other climes like South Africa, “the margin between the minimum wage and what politician earns can be determined because there are imperial data to arrive at the differential.”
“In our own case, what is the differential?” He said
Minimum wage implementation
President Muhammadu Buhari signed the new minimum wage bill into law on April 18. But its implementation had been stalled over salary adjustments and disagreement between the labour unions and government representatives.
Speaking on the status of minimum wage and consequential adjustment, negotiation in states, Mr Wabba said there are at least eight categories which each state falls under on the implementation of minimum wage and consequential salaries adjustment.
In the first category, Mr Wabba said there are 16 states “that have agreed and signed” like Abia, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bayelsa, Borno, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, FCT, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Lagos, Ondo.
In the second category, he said three states “have reached an agreement but have not signed”. They are: Cross River, Enugu and Sokoto.
The third category, he said there are 17 states “where negotiation is ongoing”. They are: Adamawa, Bauchi, Benue, Ekiti, Gombe, Imo, Kogi, Kwara, Nasarawa, Niger, Ogun, Osun, Oyo, Plateau, Rivers, Yobe, and Zamfara.
The fourth category, he said, includes states “that have commenced implementation”. They are Borno, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, FCT, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Lagos, Ondo, Sokoto, and Yobe.
The union said that, in the fifth category, “Taraba has not started anything, a committee has not been inaugurated, the process of dialogue has not commenced.”
The union appealed to the Taraba State Government to quickly respect the provision of the minimum wage act.
In the sixth category, Mr Wabba said in the three states, “implementation has commenced for level 1-6”. These are, Adamawa, Bauchi and Niger.
The seventh category includes states “that have negotiated but yet to implement and these include Abia, Akwa Ibom, Anambra and Bayelsa.
“Finally, there are states where no implementation has commenced like Benue, Cross River, Ekiti, Enugu, Gombe, Imo, Kogi, Kwara, Nasarawa, Ogun, Osun, Oyo, Plateau, Rivers, Taraba and Zamfara.”
Mr Wabba said the minimum wage act is already a law, and that “every political office holder must respect the sanctity of our constitution and also the sanctity of oat of office they’ve sworn to uphold”.
“If a worker is entitled to be paid his wages, the wages must be commensurate to what has been negotiated,” he said.
Meanwhile, the labour union also appealed to the president to address the issue of national security as a matter of emergency.
When asked whether the service chiefs should be sacked or remain in office, Mr Wabba said, “I don’t want to be in the politics of whether they should go or not.
“What we demand is that the issue must be addressed, if in the process they needed to go, that is the decision that the president and commander in chief need to take but what we want is efficiency, we want the issue to be brought to an end,” Mr Wabba said.