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‘Minimum wage does not mean same pay across states’ – Ngige tells governors

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige has addressed agitations against a uniform Minimum Wage in all states of the federation.

Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers, while speaking the minds of some governors at the Public Hearing on Minimum Wage for the South South Zone in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, said states should be allowed to determine the salaries to pay workers in their respective states, based on their capacity.

He said that states varied in financial capacity, making a uniform minimum wage unrealistic.

Ngige in response said the national minimum wage doesn’t mean that states across the federation will pay a uniform salary, adding that the minimum wage law was to set the minimum standard, below which no employer, either federal, state or local government and in private sector should pay.

Ngige stressed that Minimum Wage being a Federal law as contained in section 34 of the Constitution, “means a price floor below which workers may not yield their labour.”

The minister said: “Above that floor, any state can pay as higher as its resource capacity accommodates.

“The intendment of the minimum wage therefore is not about uniformity to hold back rich states or members of the private sector who have resources to pay higher from doing so but to set a national base below which the reward for labour in terms of wages would be inequable, indecent and slavish, hence illegal and unacceptable.

“The intendment is to set an irreducible minimum that can guarantee opportunities for workers to earn a fair income; security in the workplace and social protection for workers and their families.”

“The life of a worker and employers especially those in the private sector is intrinsically interwoven with the development of the nation, hence the importance the Federal government attached to interacting directly with workers all over the federation, so as to fully accommodate their aspirations for decent work in the new Minimum Wage,” Ngige said.

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