Labour to review states’ compliance with minimum wage
ORGANISED labour said on Monday it would soon take a decision on a date it would meet to review the minimum wage negotiation between states and workers across Nigeria.
The PUNCH had reported on Friday that no fewer than 15 states had yet to conclude negotiations on the new minimum wage of N30,000 two days after the deadline of December 31, 2019, which labour gave governors to sign agreements with their workers.
Investigations had also showed that Ekiti, Cross River, Benue, Gombe, Osun, Sokoto, Oyo, Niger, Ogun, Enugu, Bayelsa, Rivers, Kwara, Taraba and Anambra states had not agreed on consequential adjustments of salaries.
It was also gathered that while Lagos, Kaduna, Bauchi, Kastina and Borno states had agreed to pay the new minimum wage, other states started negotiations few days to the end of the deadline.
The new wage structure was signed into law by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on April 18, 2019, while both the Federal Government and the organised labour agreed on consequential adjustments on October 18, 2019, after a lengthy negotiation.
Both sides at a meeting on October 18 agreed on 23.2 percentage increase for workers on grade level 07; 20 per cent for those on 08; 19 per cent for workers at grade level 09; 16 per cent for those on levels 10 to 14; and 14 per cent for workers at grade levels 15 to 17.
After a review of compliance by states on December 11, 2019, labour leaders stated that Borno, Abia, Kano, Bayelsa, Sokoto, Niger, Abia, Akwa Ibom, Edo, Ondo, Ebonyi,
Katsina, and Zamfara states had constituted negotiating committees.
They added that Bauchi, Yobe, Rivers, Benue, Gombe, Kwara, Imo, Osun, Ekiti, Oyo, Anambra, Taraba, Cross River, Ogun, Enugu, Nasarawa, Plateau, Kogi, and Delta states had not set up committees.
On Thursday, labour directed all its state councils to complete all negotiations before its meeting in January. It also soft-pedalled on sanctions against states that failed to meet its deadline.
In an exclusive interview with our correspondent on Thursday, the National Chairman of the Joint National Public Service Negotiating
Council, Abdulrafiu Adeniji, said labour would allow states that just constituted negotiating panels to continue talks, adding that the JNPSNC would expect feedback from such states before labour leaders would meet again.
In another exclusive interview with our correspondent on Monday,
Adeniji said state governments had had enough time and that labour would soon meet to review their compliance level.
He said, “We are aware of the obligation before us. Before the end of 2019, a process was begun and labour promised to respond to states that refused to do the right thing as far as the minimum wage negotiation was concerned.
“Most offices only resumed today (Monday). We would decide when the date of the meeting will be after that (resumption).”
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Labour Congress Chairman in Ekiti State, Kolapo Olatunde, on Monday, urged Governor Kayode Fayemi to fast-track the completion of negotiation for the minimum wage.
Olatunde, who said labour had submitted all necessary documents during the inaugural meeting of the negotiating teams, lamented that government had not been forthcoming since the committee was inaugurated.
He told journalists in Ado Ekiti, “We have inaugurated our committee and we have given the government the template from the national and that is the signed agreement. We have submitted all documents and we have not heard from them since then.
“I believe what we should be doing as a state now is the negotiation for the payment of consequential adjustments of the new minimum wage and not the issue of sack. Moreover, nobody has told us that they will sack people because of the new minimum wage.”
But the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Yinka Oyebode, said Ekiti had since October last year begun the payment of the minimum wage to lower level workers in the state, adding that negotiations with labour unions on the consequential adjustments for other categories of workers would soon be completed.
•L-R: Project Engineer, Lanre Adesemoyin; Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi; Commissioner for Utility, Bamidele Faparusi; and General Manager, Ekiti State Water Corporation, Mrs Bisi Agbeyo, during the governor’s inspection of newly delivered equipment at Ero Dam in Ikun Ekiti ...on Monday. Photo: NAN