New minimum wage of N30, 000 takes effect
After series of meetings between the Minister of Labour and Employment Dr. Chris Ngige and leadership of the orgnaised labour, the Federal Government, on Wednesday, October 23, 2019, finally announced the decision to commence the payment of N30, 000 minimum wage to its workers.
Ngige made the announcement at the end of the FEC meeting presided over by Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo. He informed that the FEC also approved that payment of minimum wage be effected from April 18, 2019.
Organised labour had earlier threatened to embark on a nationwide strike from Oct. 16, if the Federal Government fails to reconvene the meeting of the committee negotiating the consequential adjustment on the new minimum wage.
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) at a meeting with the Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council (JNPSNC)-Trade Union Side) in Abuja, warned that labour would not guarantee industrial peace in the country if their demands were not met by government.
In a statement jointly signed by NLC the President, Ayuba Wabba, his TUC counterpart, Quadri Olaleye and Simon Anchaver, Acting Chairman of JNPSNC (Trade Union Side), the unionists said that labour had all along demonstrated restraint and patience with government.
However, labour union later called off the nationwide industrial action initially scheduled to press home workers’ demand for a new national minimum wage. Wabba announced the suspension at the end of the last meeting of the tripartite committee set up to come up with the new minimum.
He said the decision to suspend the action was reached after agreements were reached and documents signed.
“Having reached this position and agreements signed, the proposed strike action is hereby suspended,” the labour leader said.
Wabba, however, refused to disclose the figure of the new minimum wage arrived at by the committee. He said the figure would only be made public after the committee’s report would have been presented to President Muhammadu Buhari.
With details of the new minimum wage now public at the federal level, the organised labour then warned that it would not guarantee industrial harmony in states that refuse to complete negotiations on the new minimum wage of N30, 000 with it and begin payment of the new wage structure by December 31, 2019.
A communique issued by the NLC after a one-day stakeholders’ meeting on the implementation of the new national minimum wage at the state level, which was held in Abuja, said labour observed that 19 state governments had yet to begin negotiations with labour representatives in their states.
The communiqué, which was signed by the President of the NLC, Ayuba Wabba; the union Secretary-General, Emmanuel Ugboaja; and the National Chairman, Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council (Trade Union side), Abdulrafiu Adeniji, said from the report reaching the national leadership of labour, only four states (Kaduna, Kebbi, Lagos, and Adamawa) had begun payment of the new wage structure.
The communique read in part: “Each state should immediately convoke an emergency executive council meeting and state congress of all workers to brief them on the outcome of the stakeholders’ meeting on the new national minimum wage implementation; “States which have not commenced discussion should quickly constitute a negotiating committee and expeditiously conclude discussions on salary adjustment consequent on the new national minimum wage on or before December 31.”
The implementation of N30, 000 new minimum wage approved by the Federal Government has been a source of nightmare to virtually all the state governors across the country. As the December 31 deadline draws closer, there are indications that some state governments might not have it well with their workers in the New Year.