By Tordue Salem, Abuja
A law to exclude regular courts, federal and state governments from the determination of minimum wage for workers in the country, and vest the same powers in the federal and state legislatures and industrial courts, is underway in the House of Representatives.
The legislative instrument, exclusively obtained by VANGUARD, is entitled: “Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (Fifth Alteration) Bill, 2021”. The sponsor is Rep. Abbas Tajudeen.
The Bill seeks to alter the constitution, and insert that “The National Assembly, May make laws for the Federation or any part thereof with respect to Labour, including trade unions, Industrial relation, conditions, safety and welfare of Labour, industrial disputes; prescribing minimum wage and industrial dispute in so far as the subject matter relates to a matter upon which the National Assembly has the power to make laws in the constitution.
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“A House of Assembly May, subject to paragraph 20A hereof, make laws for the State or any part thereof, with respect to Labour, including trade Unions, Industrial relations, Conditions, safety and welfare of Labour, Industrial disputes in so far as the subject matter relates to a matter upon which the House House of Assembly has the power to make Laws in this constitution”.
The Bill also proposes in its section 2(1) that “Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 251, 257, 272, the National Industrial Court shall, in so far as the subject matter relates to a matter which the National Assembly have the power to make laws under this constitution, have and exercise jurisdiction to the exclusion of any other court in civil cases and matters”.
Recall that an earlier attempt by the National Assembly to have State governments fix whatever minimum wage they deem fit, sparked outrage from workers and civil society organizations across the country.
The heat was so much, that the Speaker of the House of Representatives, was forced to address leaders of the Labour unions and promise to withdraw the Bill. The Speaker had, in place of the Bill, promised that the House, would introduce pieces of legislation that would promote the welfare of workers.
This current Bill is expected to be treated on the resumption of the Green Chamber from Easter Recess, later in the month.
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