By Tordue Salem, Abuja
A law is underway in the House of Representatives to exclude ordinary courts, federal and state governments from determining the minimum wage for workers in the country, and confer the same powers on federal and state legislatures and industrial courts. .
The legislative instrument, obtained exclusively by, is entitled: “Draft Law of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (Fifth Reform), 2021”. The sponsor is the representative Abbas Tajudeen.
The Bill seeks to alter the constitution, and insert that “The National Assembly, can enact laws for the Federation or any part of it with respect to Labor, including unions, Labor Relations, conditions, safety and welfare of Labor, labor disputes ; prescribing the minimum wage and labor disputes to the extent that the issue is related to a matter on which the National Assembly has the power to enact laws in the constitution.
“A House of Assembly may, subject to paragraph 20A hereof, make laws for the State or any part thereof, with respect to Labor, including unions, labor relations, conditions, safety and welfare of labor, labor disputes to the extent that the issue refers to a matter on which the House of Representatives has the power to enact laws in this constitution.
The bill also proposes in its article 2 (1) that “Notwithstanding the provisions of articles 251, 257, 272, the National Labor Court, insofar as the matter refers to a matter that the National Assembly have the power to resolve the laws of this constitution, have and exercise jurisdiction to the exclusion of any other court in civil cases and matters ”.
Let us remember that a previous attempt by the National Assembly to get state governments to set the minimum wage that they considered appropriate, provoked the outrage of workers and civil society organizations throughout the country.
The heat was so great that the president of the House of Representatives was forced to address the union leaders and promise to withdraw the bill. The president had promised, in lieu of the bill, that the House would introduce pieces of legislation that would promote the well-being of workers.
This current bill is expected to be addressed at the Green House’s Easter Recess resumption later in the month.