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Payable national minimum wage must remain in the Constitution’s Exclusive List – Peter Esele

By Deborah Coker
Benin, March 6, 2021 Peter Esele, former President of the Trade Union Congress, says national minimum wage should and must remain in the Exclusive List in the Constitution.

Esele told newsmen on Friday in Benin that this was because it was the prerogative of the Federal Government to fix national minimum wage.

He said the position of some stakeholder planning that determination of minimum wage should be taken from the Exclusive List to the Concurrent List was dereliction and abdication of responsibility by those in power.

Some state governors have argued that national minimum wage should be taken to the Concurrent List to allow states of the federation to determine their minimum wages independently

“It is very unfortunate that the National Assembly would want to take away national minimum wage from the Exclusive List.

“In other parts of the world, to fix the national minimum wage is the prerogative of the Federal Government which is domiciled in the Legislative Arm.

“Even America, the capital of capitalism, national minimum wage is fixed by the Congress.

“As I’m talking to you, President Joe Biden has proposed a new national minimum wage of 15 dollars per hour against the present 7.5 dollars per hour and negotiation is on-going.

“In some other states in America, they are already paying 15 dollars per hour minimum wage.

“The meaning of minimum wage is barest minimum. You can pay more than that.
“National minimum wage means nobody should be paid below the agreed wage.

Esele also said that for the National Assembly to tinker with the idea of moving the national minimum wage out of the Exclusive List amounted to them taking workers and Nigerians for granted.

He said that merely discussing the issue was an unfortunate development and showed the disdain and contempt with which the political class treated workers.

Is that their own approach to their own pay? Have they declared how much they take from the Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Commission?

“What these political office holders are doing is that once they get into office, they want to do whatever they like to burnish their own image and interests and take away the right of others.

“National minimum wage should be negotiated every five years; that is what the Act says,’’ Esele said

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