The speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila has said the House would not do anything to hurt Nigerian workers as the Green Chamber will always work in tandem with the yearnings and aspirations of the people.
Speaking during a meeting with a delegation from the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) led by NLC president, Comrade Ayuba Wabba yesterday in Abuja, the speaker called on the organised labour to use advocacy and lobbying as tools to register its disagreement with legislative decisions and actions.
Gbajabiamila said those were the most potent tools deployed by labour in advanced democracies to score high points as against street protests or the casting of aspersions on members of the legislature.
He said the dust being raised by the Minimum Wage Bill could be addressed successfully during the public hearing, where all stakeholders, including labour unions, would have the opportunity to kick against the draft legislation.
The fact is that Im a labour friendly Speaker, and I represent a labour friendly House.
I want us to agree, first of all, that whatever was debated on the issue of minimum wage, the contributions by each member, were well-intended.
When we begin to castigate members like that, it doesnt pay us. No member will come up with something that he knows will be against the people.
I want to tell you that we will do what we ought to do. You know me, and you know some of our members. If this hurts the Nigerian people, well do the right thing, he said.
The delegation paid a courtesy visit to the Speaker over the proposed bill to transfer the National Minimum Wage from the exclusive-legislative list to the concurrent list.
The bill, initiated in the House, had already passed second reading.
Wednesday last week, the labour leadership led workers on a protest match to the National Assembly, demanding the withdrawal of the Bill on the grounds that it would enslave workers and erode the gains achieved in the over 40 years of wage negotiations in Nigeria.