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Bauchi govt violating Minimum Wage Act – PRP knocks labour, lawmakers

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The Bauchi State chapter of the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) has accused the State government of violating the National Minimum Wage Act, 2019 and therefore, gave the government a seven-day ultimatum to send a supplementary budget to the State House of Assembly.

The party stated this at a press conference jointly addressed by its State chairman, Ahmed Umar Farouk and the Secretary, Kala Ibrahim, at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Press Centre in Bauchi on Thursday.

The party submitted that the State Governor, Senator Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed, recently signed the state’s 2022 Appropriation Bill into law without synchronizing it with the requirement of the National Minimum Wage Act, 2019.

According to PRP, Section 3 (1) of the National Minimum Wage Act 2019 mandated all employers of labour, including all state governments to pay a minimum of N30,000 per month to every employee under their establishment, alleging that the Bauchi State government had not complied with the requirement of the law.

It alleged that despite the illegality, the organized labour in the state keeps quiet without fighting for the right of workers, saying that their silence is nothing but a compromise.

“It will interest you to know that Bauchi State has been running its budget since the coming into force of this Act without any appropriation for the minimum wage requirement. This is totally illegal, null and void.

“One wonders where the labour leaders that pride themselves as the protectors of Nigerian workers are. We view their silence as a compromise and charge them to wake up to their responsibility before it is too late to cry.

“If the attitude of the union leaders looks more of a compromise, that of the state legislators, who symbolize the difference between democracy and military rule, is the least despicable.

“These are gentlemen supposedly who are not only closer to the grassroots, but who are the custodians of the constitution.

“Section 4(6) of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 as amended vested in them the power to make laws for the peace, order and good governance. Yet they have woefully failed to make law that is for the advantage of civil servants,” the party said.

It then called on political parties, civil society organisations, religious leaders and the media to join the party to ensure that justice was done.

In a swift reaction, the state chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Danjuma Saleh Kirfi, said contrary to the allegation of the party, the state government had started paying the N30,000 minimum wage to workers on its payroll.

“We have our own laws that we operate. The Bauchi State government has implemented N30,000 minimum wage to Grade Levels 1 to 6. What remains is the consequential adjustment of salary for workers from Grade Level 7 upward and we are hoping the government will do the consequential adjustment this year,” Kirfi said.

Meanwhile, the State Head of Service, Alhaji Yahuza said he would have to study the text of the party’s press briefing before his reaction.