Alleges they all charter private jets at least ‘twice, thrice’ weekly
Meets tomorrow in Abuja on ‘consequential adjustment’
By Victor Young
OTA — The Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, weekend advised governors with no capacity to pay the N30,000 new minimum wage to resign honourably, threatening to moblise for the impeachment of recalcitrant ones among them.
The threat came as labour leaders meet tomorrow in Abuja on strategies to negotiate consequential adjustment arising from the N30, 000 minimum wage at the state level.
Recall that the Nigeria Governors Forum, NGF, had last week said members could not be forced to accept the Federal Government’s position on the consequential adjustment agreed upon two weeks ago.
The NGF had argued that minimum wage consequential payments depended on the capacity of states to pay, based on Internal Generated Revenue, IGR.
NLC General Secretary, Emma Ugboaja, who was a special guest at the opening ceremony of the National Executive Council, NEC, meeting of the National Union of Chemical Rubber Leather and Non-Metallic Products Employees, NUCFRLANMPE, in Sango Otta, Ogun State, contended that it was illegal for any governor not to pay the new wage.
He said the issue of new wage with the governors would not be based on master-servant relationship, declaring that NLC would ensure that all governors paid the new wage and that no worker was shortchanged.
Recalling the agony workers passed through during the implementation of the outlawed minimum wage of N18, 000, the NLC scribe warned that labour would this time spare no governor that refuses to pay.
He advised such a governor to resign honourably, saying labour would mobilise for his impeachment.
‘Govs that won’t pay should be impeached’
Ugboaja said: “We can’t play the script of governors. It is criminal not to pay wages. Any governor that is not paying wages should be impeached. Nigeria has fixed the new wage and they participated throughout the discussion, so there is no basis for any of them to now come up with excuses. Any governor that gives excuse, we will mobilise for his impeachment.”
The NLC General Secretary insisted that if a governor could still have fund for his extravagant lifestyle, nothing should stop him from providing for the workers who are doing the jobs that made it possible for him to live in affluence.
“We challenged them; none of them can tell us that they are not flying private jets twice to thrice a week. So, they can’t turn around to tell us that payment of N30,000 is a big issue. We are really waiting to see a governor that will dare us by violating the law,” he said.
On implementation of the new minimum wage by the private sector, Ugboaja, said: “The challenge we have managing minimum wage is government, not the private sector. You can recall that Nigeria Employers Consultative Association, NECA, backed us throughout the negotiation. We will definitely work with the unions in the private sector to ensure compliance.’’
He added that though most of the employers in the private sector were already paying the new wage, “one cannot rule out some exceptions, especially now that the law has reduced the number of staff an employer should have to pay the N30,000 minimum wage from 50 to 25.”
The Federal Government has already set December 31, 2019, as take off date for payment of the new minimum wage, although President Muhammadu Buhari signed the bill into law on April 18, the date it took effect.
Labour leaders meet tomorrow on adjustment
Meanwhile, labour leaders will be meeting tomorrow in Abuja to strategise on how to negotiate the consequential adjustment arising from the N30,000 new minimum wage at the state level.
Secretary of the Trade Union Side, TUS, of Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council, JNPSNC, Lawal Bashir, who disclosed this yesterday, said: ‘’We need to share experiences, we need to pass information to ourselves, give statistics, data, we need to be armed with certain facts.”
Lawal, who is also the Secretary-General of Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria, ASCSN, said sequel to the experiences during the negotiations and implementation of the outlawed N18,000 minimum wage in 2011, TUS decided to summon state leaders in the public sector unions to guide them and share experiences from the federal level to effectively negotiate at the states levels.
He said: “That is the major reason we are arranging tomorrow to meet leaders of State Joint Public Service Negotiating Council from the 36 states. We need to share experiences, we need to pass information to ourselves, give statistics, data, we need to be armed with certain facts or else we will lose it, particularly in respect of the troublesome states that may foot drag.
‘’Those of us who are going to do the negotiations at the state levels have to be very resilient and very honest. A scenario where you want to negotiate, you are thinking about your pocket, you have lost it. If we stand firm and do it the way it should be done, we do not envisage any problem at all.
“When you see some states trying to maneuver the entire process to ensure they do not implement the new minimum wage the way it should be, know that within us as labour, we have some black legs.
‘’The moment the government side discovers that there are some loopholes that they can capitalize on, there will be trouble. Globally, if the management has its way, it does not want to pay anything.
‘’What we have arrived at when you looked at N18,000, and N30,000, the amount that is going to come out from the government is not something out of this world at all. The only thing is that most of the state governors are lazy.
‘’If you are not lazy, the moment N30,000 was agreed and signed into law, you should commission a group to start working out the different scenarios and what impact it will have on your wage bills. It is not something out of this world at all.
“We have done the calculations, and I can tell you that there is nothing unusual in it. Even at the federal level, that was the way they were looking at it but later on, they discovered that the marginal increase on the wage bill is something that can be accommodated.
‘’When you look at the federal arrangement, we have been able to do some mathematics, whereby those whose wages were improved upon of recent, find a way some to differentiate what percentage that should be added to them.
‘’This is a matter of details, believing that by the time they get down to business, they will be able to sort things out.”