Organised Labour yesterday, directed workers in the states where governors were yet to implement the new minimum wage to immediately begin an indefinite strike.
This came as the Federal Government said state governors had no choice but to pay the N30,000 national minimum wage, warning that any governor not paying was breaching the nation’s law.
The unions also sought for general upward salary review for workers, even as it lamented the seemly intractable socio-economic and political predicaments that had enveloped the nation.
International Workers’ Day, also known as May Day, is a celebration of labourers and the working classes that is promoted by the international labour movement and occurs every year on May 1.
This year’s event is coming at a time when labour is facing enormous challenges due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
In a joint address to Nigerian workers to mark this year’s celebration, the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and the Trade Union Congress, TUC, at the Eagle Square, Abuja, directed workers in the state where governors were not paying the minimum wage to immediately down tools and immediately, begin an indefinite strike.
In their May Day address titled: ‘COVID-19, Social and Economic Crises: Challenges for Decent Work, Social Protection and Peoples Welfare’, jointly read by the President of NLC, Ayuba Wabba, and his TUC counterpart, Quadiri Olaleye, they said: “We demand an upward review of salary of core civil servants to narrow the gap between their emoluments and those of employees in other segments of the public service. We implore the federal government to once more direct the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation to set up a committee to undertake this review.
On N30,000 national minimum wage, the labour leaders added, “For Nigerian workers, it has been a catalogue of workplace and trade union rights violations. First is the criminal refusal by some state governors to pay the new national minimum wage and consequential increase in salaries thus violating workers’ rights. We have already directed all our state councils to declare strike actions if any governor remains adamant about paying the new national minimum wage.”
Reacting, President Mohammadu Buhari said the 36 governors of the Federation were bound by law to pay the N30, 000 minimum wage.
According to him, any governor not paying the new wage was breaching the new National Minimum Wage Act, signed into law by him, in April 2019.
The President, represented by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, assured workers of better packages to cushion the economic effects of COVID-19 on their resources, stressing that his administration has put in place some socio-economic policies to alleviate poverty.
Sanwo-Olu promises N55,000 minimum wage
Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, in his own message, expressed the commitment of his administration to create at least 395,000 jobs in the next few months, with an average monthly wage of N55,000 above the N30,000 national minimum wage.
He said: “Our goal is to create at least 395,000 jobs in the next few months, with an average monthly wage of N55,000, in the sectors and industries that have a high demand for labour, like agriculture, construction and services.”
Oyetola challenges workers on IGR
Governor Adegboyega Oyetola of Osun State challenged the workforce to repay government investment by ensuring efficient service delivery to improve the state’s internal revenue generation.
“As a people, we express our profound gratitude to you for your hard work, resilience, and sacrifice, even in the face of daunting challenges. We all know that Nigeria is passing through the valley of economic challenges and because Osun is part of the country, our state is not spared of the challenges”, he said in his May Day address.
Addressing the state’s workers, Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom reiterated his commitment to the payment of a backlog of gratuities and pensions to next of kin of retired primary school teachers in the state.
Bayelsa workers hail Diri
WORKERS under the umbrella of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) have lauded the worker-friendly disposition of Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri.
Delivering a joint address of both unions at the Peace Park in Yenagoa, venue of this year’s Workers Day celebration, State NLC Chairman, Comrade Bipre Ndiomu, praised the governor for prompt payment of salaries and gratuity since his emergence as governor in February 2020.
Enugu workers hail Ugwuanyi
Similarly, jubilant workers of Enugu State, on the platform of the organized labour, have commended Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi for his administration’s laudable projects and programmes aimed at improving their living standard and that of the entire people of the state.
The workers who spoke, through the State Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Virginus Nwobodo and his Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) counterpart, Comrade Benneth Asogwa, during the occasion of this year’s May Day celebration, held at the Michael Okpara Square, Enugu, appreciated Gov. Ugwuanyi, who was present at the annual event, for his unequalled resilience in the approval and payment of the new N30,000 minimum wage and its consequential adjustment to the state workers.
Implement minimum wage, Kogi workers beg Bello
Meanwhile, the organized labour in Kogi State appealed to Governor Yahaya Bello to implement the N30,000 new minimum wage.
The union which comprises the Nigerian Labour Congress, (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress, (TUC), made the appeal on Saturday in Lokoja during the commemoration of this year’s workers day.
AbdulRazaq pleads for understanding
Governor Abdulrahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara State reassured workers of his administration’s commitment to improving their well-being despite the dwindling revenue amid the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On the consequential adjustment component of the minimum wage, the governor sought patience and understanding of the union particularly in the light of the current economic realities.
Govt, Labour disagree over minimum wage in Nasarawa
Nasarawa State chapter of NLC rejected the state government proposal to implement the minimum wage for workers on grade levels one to six only in the state.
Chairman, NLC, Nasarawa state council, Comrade Yusuf Sarki Iya, said Labour rejected the offer on the ground that the idea behind the minimum wage was for every category of worker to enjoy the benefit hence the need to consider the consequential adjustment of other Grade levels.
Lalong assures of improved welfare
Plateau State Governor Simon Lalong appreciated the state workforce for their support despite the challenges they face and assured them of his administration’s commitment to improving their welfare.
Lalong, who addressed the workers at the Rwang Pam Township Stadium, Jos, disclosed he had officially concluded negotiations with labour on the implementation of the N30,000 minimum wage and consequential adjustments and directed the Head of Service to convene the Joint Negotiating Council next week for the official signing of the final agreement.
We need secured state to drive our economy – Makinde
Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State emphasized the need for a secured state to have an economy to drive.
According to him, all residents of the state must remain committed to investing in the state’s security sector to continue to grow its economy.
Workers’ welfare my topmost priority – Akeredolu
Also, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu said his administration would continue to make workers welfare its topmost priority.
Obaseki hails Edo workers
On his part, the Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki commended workers in the state for their contribution to the peace and development of the state, reassuring that his government would sustain reforms and policies to guarantee better living standards for citizens.
Your welfare, my priority – Uzodimma
Addressing the workers in Owerri, Imo State Governor Hope Uzodimma assured them that their welfare would always be the priority of the government.
Uzodimma not only lauded the workers in Imo for their patience, cooperation, patriotism and understanding in the face of the Coronavirus pandemic that threatened their welfare but assured them that he will not shirk his responsibility as their governor.
Abiodun to renovate offices
Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, promised that his administration will clear all outstanding deductions from workers salaries quarterly.
The governor equally restated his commitment to ensuring that a minimum of N500m is set aside to clear the backlog of gratuities amongst the various cadres of pensioners under the state and local government services.
Delta: Okowa restates commitment to workers welfare
DELTA State Governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, restated the commitment of his administration to the welfare of workers in the state, reiterating the resolve of the State Government to continue to meet the obligation of workers in the state as at when due.
Okowa said, despite the financial constraints in the system, his administration would always prioritize the welfare of workers in the State.
The governor, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, SSG, Mr Chiedu Ebie, insisted that since pre-independence days workers have been a vital part of the dynamics of Nigeria’s social-political and economic trajectory.
Noting that workers had continuously kept the nation on its feet despite the hardships that arose from time to time, he urged them to remain resilient, hopeful and focused.
Vanguard News Nigeria