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Kwara government gets ultimatum from Labour over minimum wage

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Governor Abdulrazak

Organized labour unions in Kwara State have given the government 14 days to implement the new minimum wage or be ready for industrial action.

A statement in Ilorin yesterday by leaders of the unions, including acting Chairman of Trade Union Congress (TUC), Ezekiel Adegoke; chairman of State Joint National Council, Saliu Suleiman; and Issa Ore, read in part: “We observed that the state government, after the conclusion of the negotiation on the new minimum wage, has refused to sign the agreement for immediate implementation, despite our several letters to this effect that were not properly responded to.

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“Having critically analysed the economic implication of the present situation on the agreed minimum wage, we therefore demand immediate signing and implementation of the already agreed minimum wage for all categories of workers and upward review of the negotiated 50 per cent for Kwara workers.”

The unions noted with dismay the directive of Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq to the Ministry of Finance to stop deduction and remittance of union check-off dues and other third party deductions to the concerned unions and associations in the state, maintaining that “deduction of check-off dues is the statutory obligation of every employer of labour where unions operate.”

It also urged the governor to pay hazard allowance to health workers in the frontline of the battle against COVID-19.

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But the governor said the issues raised by the unions would be timely addressed.

Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Rafiu Ajakaye, noted: “The Kwara State government and labour unions have enjoyed a very cordial relationship for the past one year. That relationship has been based on mutual understanding and show of good faith. To that extent, negotiations are ongoing and both sides are showing good faith. That fine relationship will continue and I can assure you that there would not be the need for the unions to proceed on industrial action.

“We commend them for their patience and understanding. We are showing good faith as a government, as we also commend labour unions and the entire workforce in the state.”

He promised that there would be some pronouncements on the minimum wage “very soon.”

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