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Labour begins negotiation with governors on new wage


Frank Ikpefan, Abuja
 

Labour leaders in states will begin negotiations next week on the consequential adjustments for the new minimum wage of N30, 000.


The Joint Public Service Negotiating Council, which negotiated the consequential adjustments at the federal level, has already given directives to their state counterparts to begin negotiations.

And the government has released the circular detailing the template negotiated at the federal level to labour leaders.

The Joint Negotiating Councils at the state levels are expected to use this template to open negotiations with their state governments.

So far, only a few state governmentss have indicated interest in paying the N30,000 minimum wage. They are Lagos, Kaduna, Edo, and Zamfara states. Others are yet to make a move.

 

Workers hopeful in Ekiti

In Ekiti State, where the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, presides, workers are hopeful that they can enjoy the new minimum wage like their colleagues at the national level.

The Secretary of Council One, JNC, Ekiti State, Mohammed Bashman, said in an interview that labour was hopeful of getting a better deal from the state government.

He said that negotiations for consequential adjustments will begin fully next week following the set up of a committee.

Bashman said: “Just last week, they notified us of the composition of the committee in Ekiti. We have constituted a committee that will negotiate the consequential adjustments based on the table agreed at the national (level), and the instruction from the national is very straightforward.

“We cannot negotiate below what they agreed at the federal level.

“Lagos state has started very well. They negotiated far above what they agreed at the national and we too are thinking we should be able to get the same result because the public service in Ekiti is small. We don’t have up to 10,000 workers in the core civil service.

“We are optimistic of getting a deal far above what they got at the national. The committee has just been setup last week and we are thinking that by next week we will start full negotiation with the state government.

 

Negotiation progresses in Akwa Ibom

Labour leaders in Akwa Ibom have opened negotiation with the government following directives from the national body.

The Secretary, JNC in the state, Akamba Awah, said: “We have started negotiation in my state and it is progressing well. There is no problem yet. We are meeting on Tuesday.

“We have given them our demands and they have agreed to work out the financial implication, then we meet on Tuesday and we are not going to go below what was agreed at the federal level.”

 

Benue awaits Ortom’s return

In Benue State, labour leaders may have to tarry for a while for the state governor, Samuel Ortom, to return from his trip.

Although the governor has setup a committee, it is yet to be inaugurated.

The Secretary of the JPSNC in the state, Kelvin Chai, who disclosed this in an interview, said: “Immediately after the meeting in Abuja, we equally wrote to the government and forwarded the letter from the national to government to commence negotiation.

“That same week, the governor travelled out. Before then, he had directed the Head of Service to liaise with the Secretary to the State Government to act on our letter.

“The intention was that the HoS should draw up the membership of the negotiating team. The HoS has done that and we are waiting for the governor to come back.


“We are expecting him any moment from now so that he will inaugurate the team so that we can begin in earnest.”

 

Govt, Labour set up committee in Enugu

In Enugu State, the Chairman, JPSNC, Igbokwe Chukwuma Igbokwe, said that a committee to kick start discussion on the new minimum wage has been set up by both Labour and the state government.

He said the committee will be inaugurated next week for negotiation to begin.

Igbokwe said: “We have not started negotiation. Following that circular that the state government should set up a committee, at a joint EXCO meeting, a committee was setup.

“So we are looking that from next week the committee will be inaugurated to commence negotiation.”

 

Ihedioha yet to open door for negotiation

In Imo State, the governor, Emeka Ihedioha, has not opened negotiation with labour over the minimum wage.

The State Secretary, Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN), Chiagoro Dominic, confirmed this to our reporter.

He said: “We have not opened discussion with the state government. The Joint Council Negotiating in the state will be meeting on Monday probably to kick start (negotiation). It is after Monday that we will know where we are.

“He has not set up a committee like some other states are doing. So by Monday when we meet, we will find out from the government side what is happening and feel their pulse on it.”

 

Labour constitutes 10-man committee in Katsina

Also in Katsina, labour has set up a ten-man team to interface with the government.

Secretary, ASCN Katsina State chapter, Ahmad Suleiman, disclosed this in an interview.

He said: “The government has formed a committee of 10 people headed by the Secretary to the State Government. Also, the JNC, Katsina State has also formed a committee of 12 people.

“The government has given the committee three weeks to finish all their negotiation but negotiation has not yet started.

“Hopefully, maybe next week Monday, the negotiation may commence. It has not yet commenced but the committee has been set up between the government and trade union sides.

Dapo Abiodun yet to extend invitation to labour leaders

In Ogun State, the governor, Dapo Abiodun, is yet to invite labour leaders for talks.

The Secretary, JNC, Ogun State chapter, Adebiyi Olusegun, said the union has written the state government asking the government to set up a committee for negotiation.

He said: “Officially, government has not communicated to us, even though they have received the letter written from the national headquarters of the JNC in Abuja.

“However, we on our part we have written to the state government several times, asking them to set up the negotiating committee so that we Labour can set up our own committee so that we can interface.”

 

Oyo begins verification of workers

In Oyo State, the government has begun verification of its workers because of an increase in the wage bill.

The Chairman JPSNC in the state, Ogundera Olusola, said labour leaders will not take less than the minimum wage agreed at the federal level.

He said: “For us in Oyo, we will not take less than the national minimum wage. That is the template. The governor is even ready to pay more than the minimum, but he has a problem.

One month after he resumed, the wage bill of the state went up by N1 billion. He pleaded with us that he will like to conduct a biometric verification exercise.

“Oyo State workers are currently undergoing the biometric verification exercise. But we have written the state government and we have forwarded the circular and the national template. We are awaiting their response.

“We have told our governor that we will not be well dispose to negotiating an already negotiated national minimum wage with its consequential adjustments.

“There is no way you will move the least earner from N18,000 to N30,000 and you want somebody who has been earning N30,000 to stay on the same salary.

“If we want to enforce it, the state government will say that we want to coerce them into paying the minimum wage when he is actually doubting the existence of normal workers versus ghost workers in the state. That is why we are tarrying a bit for the biometric exercise to be concluded.

“We don’t expect a negotiation. We only want to hear the announcement and maybe later in the day the government will call labour leaders into a meeting and tell us the situation.”

 

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