The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on Wednesday berated governors who have refused to implement the N30,000 new national minimum wage.
Speaking in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, at the opening session of the 2020 Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council Meeting (JNPSNC), NLC President Ayuba Wabba described such governors as recalcitrant and black sheep.
Wabba, whose address was read by Bayelsa State NLC Chairman Bipre Ndiomu, hailed the Federal Government for ensuring swift and seamless implementation of the new national minimum wage, including the sorting and payment of all the arrears.
He said: “We cannot say the same for some state governments, which have refused to negotiate with workers at the state levels for consequential adjustments in salaries and payment of the new national minimum wage.
“In fact, a few states are yet to even set up negotiating committees for the consequential salary adjustments. This is completely unacceptable to workers. We can assure the handful of the recalcitrant state governors that the leadership of the organised labour is keenly monitoring the development in their states and we will soon prove that we meant business with our last ultimatum on the matter.
“We do not need to keep reminding the black sheep state governments that the payment of the new minimum wage is backed by the force of the law. There is no denying it. There is no escaping it. You must pay, and when you pay, you must pay in arrears.
“As for the consequential adjustments in salaries, we will resist any attempt by any state government to unilaterally award stipends to workers. Just as the example had been set by the Federal Government, the consequential adjustments in salaries must be a product of tripartism, social dialogue and negotiations.”
Wabba also hailed the Head of Service of the Federation (HoSF) and her team for ensuring that the arrears on the new national minimum wage were paid to workers.
The union leader urged her to continue throwing her weight behind the cause of the NLC until every worker and pensioner, especially those at the state level, received their arrears of the new national minimum wage and a negotiated consequential salary and pension adjustments.
Wabba pleaded for pensioners and appealed to local governments to set machinery in motion for the payment of a new national minimum pension, pension review and accrued pension arrears from April 2019, in line with the constitution.
“I believe that if we make incremental and steady progress in improving the salaries, welfare and conditions of service of public workers over time, we would reduce the difficulties in negotiating consequential adjustments with a new national minimum wage.
“It is in this same vein that Nigerian workers demand that there should be some ways of triggering the review of an extant national minimum wage based on predetermined economic indices.
“We must not wait until after five years for workers to roll up their sleeves and banners in a protracted fight before a new minimum wage would be achieved. Such protracted struggle takes unnecessary toll on workers and the system,” he said.
Also, the Anambra State government has said the computation of new minimum wage is delaying the payment of this month’s salary.
The state chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), led by Jerry Nnubia, urged the workers to exercise patience for one or two more weeks for the government to complete the process.
The state government, through the Head of Service, Harry Udu, issued a circular yesterday on the delay.
Governor Willie Obiano had assured the workers that they would receive the new consequential minimum wage on January 26, 2020.
But the promise failed as labour and government held a meeting on January 24 to harmonise the issue.
In the circular, the state government urged workers to be patient with a promise that payment would begin as soon as the computations were completed.