* Beg workers to shelve strike
By HENRY UMORU
Abuja – The 36 state governors under the aegis of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, NGF, yesterday, bowed to pressure and agreed to pay the N18,000.00 minimum wage to their workers.
Addressing journalists at the end of the forum’s meeting held at the Rivers State Governor’s Lodge, Asokoro, chairman of the Forum and Rivers State governor, Mr. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, disclosed that it became imperative for the governors to implement the N18, 000 minimum wage for workers because there is an Act legalising it and they must comply with the Wage Act.
This was part of the decisions reached at the end of the meeting of the governors which started at 8 p.m. on Friday and ended in the early hours of yesterday.
The governors, who, as gathered, had earlier met with the leadership of the House of Representatives on the minimum wage issue, however pleaded with the workers not to embark on their proposed three-day warning strike, scheduled to begin on Wednesday, adding that there was no need for the workers to embark on the strike since the governors have all agreed to pay.
According to Amaechi, “We , the executive governors of the 36 states of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, at our meeting held on July 15, 2011 at the Rivers State Governors Lodge under the aegis of the Nigeria Governors Forum deliberated over a number of issues and resolved as follows:
“On the issue of minimum wage, the Forum resolved to comply with the provisions of the Minimum Wage Act and further agreed that individual states should commence implementation modalities.”
Though he was silent on when the payment would kick-off in each state while reading the communiqué, but while speaking with Journalists stressed that each state was expected to negotiate that with labour unions in their respective states on this.
“You see, there is no way we can on our own, develop our states without the cooperation of the workers. In fat, we see them as partners and that is why we are appealing to them to shelve their proposed strike.
“There is no need for it again because we have all agreed to pay them the minimum wage, which we also considered to be a law and as law enforcers in our different sates, we won’t go against the law,’’ he said.
It was learnt, yesterday, that some states might get arrears when the states start the new minimum wage implementation, depending on the bargaining powers of their labour leaders and the availability of resources to pay.
According to Amaechi, the governors will not deprive the workers their dues, adding, “no governor would want to deprive his workers their benefits because these workers are the engine room of our states.
“We won’t have money and begin to say there is no money, after all, we are al working to achieve common goal, which is to make life better for the people.”