Labour Set For Battle With States Yet To Implement Minimum Wage

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Organised labour has vowed to go after states yet to implement the N30,000 national minimum wage approved by the Federal Government since October 2019.

The Guardian learnt that of the 36 states of the federation, 10 states including Imo, Benue, Anambra, Kano Bauchi, Kebbi, Kogi, Nasarawa, Taraba and Zamfara, were yet to implement the national minimum wage.

Acting National President of the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN), Dr. Tommy Okon, who spoke at a media briefing yesterday, said the association had taken a decision and would soon unfold its plans, insisting that the situation had reached a point of no return.

Giving an update on implementation level by some of the states, Okon said Anambra and Taraba states had concluded negotiations with labour, but had not begun implementation.

He said Bauchi, Benue, Kebbi, Kogi, Nasarawa and Zamfara states were still negotiating, while Imo State was yet to begin negotiations.

While commending states that had concluded negotiations and began implementation, he said Kano State had not commenced negotiations, but had also reduced workers’ salaries.

Okon said it was an aberration for any government to reduce salaries after a new minimum wage was passed into law, adding that labour leaders had exhausted avenues of industrial relations and collective bargaining and, therefore, would not hesitate to fight recalcitrant states.

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“Our wage is our right. We are not begging. President Muhammadu Buhari signed the national minimum wage into law and it should not be negotiated. Some state governments are saying they cannot pay and they have refused to tell us how much they spend on security vote with the level of insecurity in the country.”

“They refused to tell us how many personal assistants they have, they refused to tell us how much they are using to feed their dogs weekly. The problem of industrial relations is not caused by workers but by government. This is man’s inhumanity to man.

“Why do states renege on agreement when they know that its is a potential time bomb? When we enter into agreement, it is a simple rule of collective bargaining. We have reached an agreement and they are reneging without informing the parties involved and see how we can discuss from time to time,” he said.

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