The Senate on Monday pleaded with Organised Labour to shelve its planned nationwide industrial action over a new minimum wage in the interest of the masses.
The Upper Chamber said the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and its sister organisations should drop the proposed strike because findings showed that President Muhammadu Buhari is working to convince states to pay the new wage.
Chairman Senate Committee on Labour, Senator Abu Ibrahim, noted the negotiation for a new salary structure is basically for the federal and state governments to conclude since they are to implement resolutions.
He said the Senate can only intervene if there is serous disagreement that required the input of the legislature.
He insisted it is obvious Buhari is working round the clock trying to convince states to agree to pay the proposed new minimum wage.
The committee chairman added that labour unions are Nigerians who could also appreciate the financial state of the states.
He noted that it is equally evident that “there is no way, a state like Lagos can pay an amount and you expect some other states to pay like Lagos.”
The Katsina South lawmaker added: “President Buhari has been a salary earner and he knows how the workers feel and I am sure he would be on the sides of the workers.”
He noted that what is needed is harmonisation and understanding on both sides to reach a middle ground.
On the transmission of a new minimum wage bill to the National Assembly for passage into law, Ibrahim said that it should not lead to strike since the federal government can transmit the agreement “but must carry the states along.”
He noted the federal government cannot act unilaterally especially if states refused to go along with the federal government on what to pay.
He said: “The federal government can pay but how many of the states can pay? Will the federal government continue to assist the states to pay the N30, 000?
“Even if the agreement is transmitted, it has to pass through the committee and the committee would work on it and follow all the processes before the Senate can finally decide and pass the law.”