Labour to re­view states’ com­pli­ance with min­i­mum wage

The Punch - - NEWS - Olufemi Atoyebi and Abio­dun Nejo

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

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