Minimum wage: Labour leaders ponder next line of action

Posted by News Express | 4 January 2020 | 1,029 times

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The three major organs of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) will meet between Wednesday and Thursday next week to review the implementation of the new minimum wage in states.

The organs – the National Administrative Council (NAC), the Central Working Committee and the National Executive Council will meet with state chairmen of the 36 state councils and national to take a decision after some states failed to conclude negotiations on consequential adjustments with labour leaders in their domains.

TUC President, Comrade Quadri Olaleye, and its Secretary-General, Comrade Musa-Lawal Ozigi, confirmed the meeting in separate interviews on Friday.

Olaleye said: “The TUC have called for a meeting next week to review the process and decide the next line of action.”

Ozigi said all the states council chairmen are expected to bring their reports for review at the meeting.

About 15 states have yet to conclude negotiations on the new minimum wage with labour leaders in their states after the December 31 deadline issued by organised labour to governors to sign agreements with their workers on consequential adjustments.

The states—Ekiti, Cross River, Benue, Gombe, Osun, Sokoto, Oyo, Niger, Ogun, Enugu, Bayelsa, Rivers, Kwara, Taraba and Anambra—are yet to agree on consequential adjustments of salaries as a result of the new minimum wage.

Some states like Lagos, Kaduna, Bauchi, Kastina and Borno had agreed to pay the new minimum wage while some have actually started implementation.

However, other states started negotiations few days to the end of the December 31 deadline set by organised labour.

Six months after President Muhammadu Buhari signed the new wage bill into law, the Federal Government and organised labour agreed on consequential adjustments on October 18, 2019, after a prolonged negotiation.

The Federal Government and organised labour agreed on percentage increase of 23.2 for workers on level seven and 20 per cent for workers on level eight, while it agreed on 19 per cent increase for workers on level nine.

Also, both the Federal Government and organised labour reached an agreement on 16 per cent salary increase for workers on levels 10 to 14 and 14 per cent increase for workers on levels 15 to 17.

Ozigi said the NLC was also expected to call a meeting of its state chairmen to decide the next line of action.

He said: “We are having our NEC meeting next week Thursday. All the state councils are expected to bring in their reports.

“All of them are coming to Lagos for us to see what has happened in all the states and then formulate an appropriate action.

“After 9th (Thursday), a decision would have been taken that will be announced to the whole world by TUC.

“All the organs—the National Administrative Council (NAC), the Central Working Committee and the National Executive Council—will meet between 8th and 9th to review the situation and take a decision on implementation.”

Niger gets 21-day ultimatum to implement new wage

The organised labour in Niger State yesterday gave the Niger State Government a 21- day ultimatum to pay the new minimum wage of N30,000 or the workers in the state would down tools.

The decision was taken at the emergency State Executive Council (SEC) meeeting which ended yesterday evening.

The organised labour carpeted the state government over its nonchalant attitude to issues raised concerning the minimum wage.

In a letter jointly signed by the state NLC Chairman, Comrade Yakubu Garba and the state Chairman of Trade Union Congress (TUC), Comrade Yunusa Tanimu, the organised labour said the government had left them with no option but to issue the ultimatum.

The letter titled “Notice of 21 Days Ultimatum for Indefinite Strike Action” called on the government to implement the N30,000 new minimum wage, the consequential adjustments and also pay the accrued arrears before Monday, 4th February 2020, failing which it will be left with no other option but to commence an indefinite strike action by midnight of Tuesday, 4th February 2020.

The Niger State Government had said in December 2019 that its 2020 budget was based on the payment of the N30,000 minimum wage.

The government had also on many occasions stated that the state would not have any difficulty in paying the N30,000 minimum wage because the workers were already receiving N22,500.

“What we need now is N7,500. We have taken care of that in the budget,” the Commissioner of Finance, Alhaji Zakari Abubakar, said in December.

Umahi directs payment of new wage from January 10

In Ebonyi State, Governor David Umahi yesterday directed that civil Servants in the state be paid their January salary from January 10.

The governor in a statement said the new minimum wage table agreed upon between the organised labour in the state and his administration will be used in the payment.

The directive is an improvement on the previous policy of paying workers their salary from the 15th of every month.

In the statement signed by the Governor’s Special Assistant on Media, Francis Nwaze, the governor said the early payment was meant to give workers a smooth start as they return to work from the holidays.

According to Nwaze, the governor directed that the state Accountant General and all the local government chairmen should seek overdraft facilities from banks to enable them pay the new wages on time. (The Nation)

Source: News Express

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