Minimum wage negotiations: Labour sets down as 15 states miss Dec 31st deadline

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Not less than 15 states have yet to conclude negotiations on the new minimum wage two days after the deadline the organised labour gave governors to sign agreements with their workers.

Investigations showed that Ekiti, Cross River, Benue, Rivers, Kwara, Taraba, Gombe, Osun, Sokoto, Oyo, Niger, Ogun, Enugu, Bayelsa, and Anambra states had not agreed on consequential adjustments of salaries as a result of the new minimum wage.

It was gathered that while Lagos, Bauchi, Kastina, Kaduna, and Borno states had agreed to pay the new minimum wage, others started negotiations few days to the end of the deadline.

The new wage bill was signed by President Muhammadu Buhari on April 18, 2019, while the Federal Government and organised labour agreed on consequential adjustments on October 18, 2019, after a lengthy negotiation.

Both sides at a meeting on October 18 agreed on 23.2 percentage increase for workers at grade level 07; 20 per cent for those at grade level 08; 19 per cent for workers at grade level 09; 16 per cent for those at levels 10 to 14; and 14 per cent for workers at grade levels 15 to 17

Following the conclusion of talks at the federal level, negotiations shifted to states a few days after when the NLC directed its leaders in states to immediately commence negotiations with governors.

Labour gave the governors the December 31 deadline to conclude negotiations to guarantee industrial peace in their states.

Organised labour had, at a meeting on December 11, reviewed compliance with its directives by states.

The labour leaders had stated that  Bayelsa, Sokoto, Borno, Abia, Kano, Niger, Abia, Akwa Ibom, Edo, Ondo, Ebonyi, Katsina, and Zamfara states had constituted negotiating committees.

They added that Kwara, Imo, Osun, Bauchi, Yobe, Rivers, Benue, Gombe, Ekiti, Oyo, Anambra, Taraba, Cross River, Ogun, Enugu, Nasarawa, Plateau, Kogi, and Delta states had not set up any committees.

They said, “States which have not commenced discussion should quickly constitute negotiating committees and expeditiously conclude discussions on salary adjustment consequent on the new national minimum wage on or before 31st December, 2019.

“In the event that any state fails to comply with these resolutions on or before 31st December 2019, organised labour would not guarantee industrial harmony in such states.

Labour on Thursday said it had directed its members to conclude negotiations despite the expiration of the December 31 deadline.

Our correspondents’ investigations showed that labour leaders in many states disagreed with state governments over consequential adjustments arising from the new minimum wage.