October 9, 2020

Minimum Wage: Kwara govt, labour meeting ends in deadlock

Minimum Wage: Kwara govt, labour meeting ends in deadlock

Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara State

By Demola Akinyemi – Ilorin

The meeting between the leadership of Labour movement in Kwara state and the state government over the payment of N30,000 minimum wage to workers ended in a deadlock on Thursday.

The leadership of the labour movement in the state, therefore, decided to go ahead with the strike on Tuesday, after the expiration of the 14-day ultimatum given the state government.

This is contained in a statement jointly signed by the state Chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Aliyu Issa Ore, Ag state Chairman Trade Union Congress (TUC) Ezekiel Adegoke and state Chairman, Joint Negotiating Council (JNC-TUS) Saliu Suleiman, made available to journalists in Ilorin.

Meanwhile, Kwara State Government in a statement issued by Commissioner for Communications, Harriet Afolabi-Oshatimehin appealed to the labour leaders to agree to a more reasonable scale that would lower the monthly wage bill to less than N3Bn in order to accommodate workers in the local governments in the minimum wage payment.

The statement also clarified that staff audit and verification of workers are part of its efforts to reposition the public service in the state, saying it is not a precondition for the payment of the minimum wage.

It also added, “The challenge however has been how the Local governments can afford it.

At the moment, all the local governments combined earn an average of N2.6bn monthly, including the 10 per cent of their share of the IGR.

Remarkably, the monthly wage bill of these local governments stands at about N2.5bn. These expenses, it must be stated, are based on the extant N18,000 minimum wage.

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“When the new minimum wage is considered, including the consequential adjustments, the wage bill will shoot up to around N3bn. Clearly, the earnings of the local governments cannot afford such at this time.

“The government is committed to paying the minimum wage but it is pleading with the labour to accept a more reasonable scale which takes the total wage bill to less than N3bn.

“We call for reasonable and practical steps to avoid a situation which will lead to the local government borrowing to pay salaries as was the case before this administration.”

But the labour leaders after the meeting on Thursday made a resolution, which was made available to journalists.

They include,”The Congress in session agreed to go on with the proposed industrial action if the state government refused to sign and implement the new minimum wage within the 14 days ultimatum given by the labour movement.

“The Congress in session agreed to call for an enlarged SEC meeting in order to sensitize and equip them for the industrial action.

“The Congress in session resolved to mobilise every member from all the affiliate unions towards the commencement of the strike coming up on Tuesday 13th October 2020.

“The leadership of the Labour unions will not call off the industrial strike until our demands are met.

“The leadership of the Labour movement assured workers in the state that they will not betray  the confidence repose in us while the strike last..”

Vanguard News Nigeria.