Minimum wage: Cross River, Kogi, Taraba top list as NLC draws Battleline with 26 States
– NLC has drawn a battle line with 26 states over non-implementation of new minimum wage
– President Buhari had last year approved N30,000 as the new minimum wage for the workers
– Ayuba Wabba, the NLC president, however, said that only 10 states have either started paying or been in negotiation with the workers
The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) said only 10 states have concluded negotiations with workers on consequential adjustments and are ready to implement the minimum wage law. The Nation reports that the NLC president, Ayuba Wabba, said that the union would declare trade dispute with three states – Cross River, Kogi, and Taraba, for failing to initiate talks with workers’ representatives on the implementation of the new wage.
Legit.ng gathered that he said the remaining 23 states took advantage of the December 31, deadline to open talks with unions on the minimum wage payment and the consequential adjustment on senior civil servants’ salaries.
Wabba, who spoke on a Channels Television programme, categorised the 36 states into three. He said workers in Lagos and Kaduna have joined their colleagues on the federal government payroll in enjoying the new minimum wage.
Wabba listed the states where discussions on consequential adjustments have been concluded as Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Jigawa, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, and Ebonyi. Wabba said about 23 states were still on the discussion table with labour leaders in their states on consequential adjustments. According to Wabba, the new wage is binding on all states following President Buhari’s assent. He said: “We are actually on track. The federal government has set the pace. They have been able to meet up with all the obligations, including payment of arrears. Let us also not lose sight of the fact that from the day the president assented to the bill, it became law. Therefore, states have no reason not to respect a law that was enacted.
“We insist on the process of collective bargaining because we don’t want an allocation of peanuts to workers. The principle of collective bargaining is enshrined in international law that workers should be able to know what they will be paid because the N30,000 is already a law. What we are discussing is the consequential adjustment.
“That is why the unions are interested in looking at the details before they sign. Some (states) will want to pay peanut and that is what we are trying to avoid.” Wabba said the leadership of the NLC would meet with those of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the Joint Public Service Negotiating Council (JPSNC) to review the situation state by state and take action. He said: “We have three states that are yet to commence anything. We have Cross River, Kogi and Taraba state. These states are yet to even constitute the negotiating committee and these three states have not shown enough commitment to actually start the process of negotiating and implementing the minimum wage.
We are going to engage all those states (still on the negotiating table) in the weeks to come in the normal way of labour. We are not fully satisfied but we need to commend those states, particularly the ten that I have mentioned that have actually complied. If the 10 states that I have mentioned have complied, then other states have no reason not to comply.