News

June 25, 2024

Minimum Wage: Begin to save money to pay arrears, Labour tells govs

Labour

— Urges Tinubu, NASS to expedite action on passage of Minimum Wage Bill

—We’re currently paying minimum wage – Edoka

By Johnbosco Agbakwuru

PRESIDENT of the Trade Union Congress, TUC, Comrade Festus Osifo, told the 36 state State governors to start saving funds that would be used to pay arrears of the new minimum wage when it comes in force.

Comrade Osifo gave the advice when he received some executive members of the Kogi State government led by the former Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Comrade and Special Adviser to the governor on Labour Matters, Onu Edoka at the TUC headquarters, Abuja.

While responding to the statement by Comrade Edoka on his statement that Kogi State government is currently paying the N30,000 minimum wage, Osifo said that what should bother the state now is how to pay the new minimum wage when it is finally settled.

He said, “On the issue of the minimum wage what we wish to also say is that we are not at this moment even dwelling on the N30,000 again because we know that by the grace of God, before the end of July, maximum early August, the new minimum wage act should be there.

“It should have moved from the stage of submission to the National Assembly to the stage of bill and to be assented to by the President. What we are working on from both labour centres is that before the end of July, we should have a new minimum wage that must have passed through the processes, that must have been assented to by the President so that the plight of the workers will improve much more so that the current economic challenges that we are facing as a country will be improved upon and an average worker will be able to go to market and buy one or two things to take care of his or her family because of this skyrocketing inflation that we have today in our country.

“So I wish to also appeal to you all that when you go back, please let’s keep reminding His Excellency because I was listening to a state, I think Nasarawa State, that said they have started setting aside some money to meet the new obligations when the new minimum wage is passed.

“So I wish to also appeal that in Kogi, let that be the top priority amidst this scarcity of income, amidst this scarcity of revenue. Let the state pay the new minimum wage when it is implemented and also manage the consequential adjustment so that at the end of the day, the workers will be better off for it.

“I’m also happy when you said the workers’ salaries are paid promptly. It’s quite good because if you do that, you are even reinforcing and improving the GDP of your state because when you pay a worker, he is going to go to shop and buy foodstuff.

“He is going to go to that industry, to that company and buy their products. But when a worker is not paid, then he will not be able to buy those products from those companies and at the end of the day, those companies will store their products in the warehouses because nobody could afford them because there is no money to buy them.

“So I encourage you to continue in that regard, to pay salary promptly and also to implement the new minimum wage.

“Then I wish to also use this opportunity to speak to all other states as well that they should be putting plans in place to implement the new minimum wage because in Labour today, we are totally ready because when the new minimum wage act is passed, we are going to follow it state by state to ensure that it is implemented.

“So let the workers have a sigh of relief and we have the trust and the belief that with the high labour representation in Kogi state government today, we believe that Kogi state government will do the needful.

“We also call on the President, the National Assembly, let everybody expedite the process of passing the new national minimum wage.

“As you are aware, labour we have submitted N250,000, the government and organized private sector N62,000. Let both parties, let all parties come together, resolve and have a common front so that the President will be able to send the bill to National Assembly and at the end of the day, we will have a new national minimum wage. This is key, this is a topic that is germane for all Labour unions today in Nigeria.”

Speaking earlier, Edoka said that the Kogi State government has currently cleared hundred percent, backlog of salaries as well as pensions owed to the state workers and pensioners as part of Governor Ahmed Usman Ododo’s determination and efforts to enthroning a new era where workers welfare is prioritized.

He said that the State government under Ododo has taken the issue of workers’ welfare as a priority and is equally doing everything within its powers to put in place measures to ensure that the State workers interest are promoted and protected.

He said, “The governor of Kogi State, His Excellency, Alh. Ahmed Usman Ododo is already carrying out some labour friendly interventions in the interest of workers State workers. As of today, there is prompt payment of salaries to the Kogi workers as early as 24th of the month.” He said and also added that; “Payment of 100% to pensioners in both the State and Local Government levels are prompt.”

He also listed that the State governor currently ensures the; “Implementation of a 35% hazard allowance to all categories of State Health Workers. Payment of six (6) months Health Insurance Scheme for all State Workers to the Kogi State Health Insurance Agency as take off for the workforce. Harmonized CONMESS salary structure for veterinary doctors in Kogi State, and high improved salaries of Local Government Workers to 90%.”