The PUNCH reports that the hierarchy of the Labour Party has expressed varying views on the proposed minimum wage.
The LP hierarchy on Thursday night expressed divergent views over the alleged plan of the presidential flag bearer, Peter Obi, to raise the minimum wage from N30,000 to N100,000 when elected.
Obi raised the hopes of several Nigerians, especially the working class when he announced his campaign manifesto via his official Twitter handle.
The unveiling of the 72-page manifesto titled, “It’s POssible: Our Pact with Nigerians,” was miffed amid speculations, internal wrangling among LP members and the sack of the Director General of his campaign, Doyin Okupe.
While the drama of accusations and counter-accusations continued to trail the sacking of Okupe, a high-ranking member of the party announced on Thursday that the former Anambra governor would elevate the minimum wage of workers from the paltry N30,000 to about N100,000 when he wins the 2023 presidential election.
LP Deputy National Chairman, Ayo Olorunfemi, who appeared on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Thursday as a guest told the presenter that they are aiming to review the new minimum wage to between N80,000-N100,000.
He said, “The party is eyeing N80,000 to N100,000. But it also depends on the nature of the job that would be given out. For instance, when you take a cursory look at the manual labourer out there, he does not take less than N2,500 to N3,000 per day, which is still not okay as far as the reward system is concerned. If you divide N3,000 by six hours, you will be talking about N500 per hour.
“When you benchmark that against what we have now, certainly, you would be talking of something within the range of N500-N1,000 per hour depending on the nature of work, and at the end of the day, someone can effectively say that he can make up to N4,000 in a day. And when you multiply N4,000 in a day by 20 or 25, we are talking about N80,000 or N100,000 in a month.”
His position was supported by the spokesman of Obi-Datti Presidential Campaign Council, Yunusa Tanko, who told our correspondent that it is an insult for any serious government to be paying its workers N30,000 as salary.
While disclosing that the LP presidential candidate’s desire is to see workers living comfortably, Tanko stated that they are determined to right some wrongs including the lingering crisis with the Academic Staff Union of Universities.
“It is part of our plan to jack up the issue of payment of salaries. Remember that the majority of Nigeria Labour Congress members also belong to the party. Therefore, they will help to facilitate and determine the new minimum wage in the presidential quest of Peter Obi.
“As a Labour man, these areas are positions we are considering seriously in our campaign proposal. These are some of the things that will also dovetail into the issue of ASUU when the union is supposed to be fully remunerated according to their workforce.
“I watched the issue myself and can allude to the fact that what we are trying to do is to make workers more comfortable in their duties. After all, we all go to the same markets. But you cannot justify them being paid N30,000 as salary when they cannot take care of one bag of rice. It is very insulting,” he stated.
When contacted, the National Chairman of the party, Julius Abure, declined to comment on the issue.
He said, “Please give me some time. I will get back.”
As of the time of filing this report, he has yet to react to the N100,000 minimum wage proposal announced on national television by his deputy.
Reacting to his statement, the LP National Publicity Secretary, Abayomi Arabambi, scolded Olorunfemi, saying he has no locus standi to make such pronouncement on behalf of the flag bearer.
“He is not competent to speak or make such claim. Such statement can only come from the mouth of the presidential candidate. Olorunfemi wasn’t directed to speak to that effect. Wherever he picked the information, we don’t know.
“We know Mr Peter Obi is not a frivolous person. There was no way he could just issue a random statement that he will increase minimum wage from N30,000 to N100,000.
“Don’t forget that he is also a Senatorial candidate in Ondo. Probably, he is saying that in his own capacity pending when he enters the Senate. Maybe, by then, he will able to work towards increasing it to that level.”