As the deadline of 31st December 2019 draws closer and in a bid to avoid industrial disharmony as threatened by organized labour to states to conclude negotiations on the implementation of the N30,000 new National Minimum Wage, some state governors are yet to comply with the directives while some have started a last-minute rush to meet the cut-off date of the labour union.
In Rivers state the chairperson of NLC Beatrice Itubo Had said “Negotiation is in progress; we just left the committee now, it is ongoing and we are hopeful that we can still conclude it by December 31,” but like I said earlier on, the we might not get our implemented wage this December but I can assure the workers that January salary the implemented package will be reflected in their pay.
In Bayelsa State, the NLC chairman, comrade John Ndiomu, told newsmen that the state organised labour would take it up with the government if at the end of January 2020 the new scale was not implemented. He said “By January 2020, if the state government don’t pay, we will make small trouble with them,” they said they have set up the committee and we are waiting on them to come up with their offer’’
Recall that NLC had in a communiqué issued at the end of its meeting with the state council chairmen on December 12 said it would not be able to guarantee industrial peace and harmony in states that failed to conclude negotiations and began payment of the new minimum wage by December 31, 2019. the NLC said states that had yet to commence negotiation might experience “industrial disharmony from January if the governors refuse to do the needful.”
With three days to go on the deadline given by the Nigeria Labour Congress to state governors the NLC noted that while states like Kaduna, Lagos, Kebbi and Adamawa had begun payment of implemented wage some others like Kano, Bayelsa, Abia and about nine others had constituted negotiating committees. Others like Ebonyi, Kogi, Ogun, Delta, Plateau, Gombe and about 14 others had yet to set up a negotiating committees.
We gathered that states like;Cross River, Taraba, and Ondo states have set up committees to negotiate with the unions before the deadline, Oyo, Gombe and Imo states have not shown commitment to meet up with the deadline.
Also, Benue, Enugu, Bayelsa and Ebonyi states have ruled out the possibility of meeting up with the deadline.
Meanwhile the President of the Trade Union Congress, Quadri Olaleye, said that the union had fixed a date for the review of minimum wage negotiation in all states, saying that a decision would also be taken against defaulting states at the meeting.
He said the union would meet in the first week of January on the matter, noting that letters had been sent to all state councils to that effect. TUC said the two-day meeting would hold at Airport Hotel, Obafemi Awolowo Way, Ikeja, Lagos. he had reiterated in an interview earlier in the week that labour would not extend the ultimatum issued to states over the minimum wage implementation.
The new minimum wage Act was signed into law on April 18, 2019, by President Muhammadu Buhari.