Increase N18,000 Minimum Wage, Reverse Sale Of DISCOs, TUC Tells FG

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The Trade Union Congress (TUC) on Tuesday tabled a fresh demand to the Federal Government for an upward review of the current N18,000 national minimum wage.

The TUC made the demand when its President, Comrade Bobboi Kaigama, led a delegation of the union on a visit to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Noting that the National Minimum Wage (Amendment) Act 2011 would be five years old in March, Mr. Kaigama said that in accordance with the International Labour Organisation’s Minimum Wage Fixing Convention 131 of 1970, an ad hoc committee should be raised every five years for the review.

He said: “We use this opportunity to serve notice that it is time for the Federal Government to set up that committee and mandate it to kick start work on a new minimum wage.

“We trust that this will be done immediately to save Nigerian workers from the harsh effects of present day economic realities which are taking tolls on their meager incomes”.

The TUC president also urged the government to reverse the sale of the electricity distribution companies (DISCOs), stressing that the current operators had demonstrated a lack of will, capacity and competence to invest in the power sector and provide electricity to consumers.

He also described the current increase in electricity tariff as “anti-people”, just as he termed the Act of the National Assembly empowering the electricity regulator the unilateral power to increase the tariff as “very lame, too simplistic and misleading”.

He said: “Any Act that preys on the masses that it is supposed to protect negates the very essence of public policy.
“In the same vein, any act that compels the citizens to pay for services not delivered is not only flawed and undemocratic but ultra vires to the power of the National Assembly to make laws for the good of the country”.

Stressing that the telecommunication operators brought funds, expertise, service delivery and competition in their business which Nigerians were happy about, Kaigama accused the DISCOs of “profiteering through fraud”.

According to him, the DISCOs have failed to implement their own part of the bargain as poor electricity supply and non-availability of meters are experienced nationwide.

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