Minimum wage: No plan to sack workers by Ondo govt ― Ondo NLC chairman

Organised labour in Ondo State on Wednesday, assured workers that the state government would not disengage any worker in the state to ensure the implementation of the new minimum wage.

The  State Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Mr Sunday Adeleye-Oluwole, who stated this, said negotiations are ongoing between NLC and the state government to ensure the payment of the new wage by the state government.

He said the negotiations had been suspended that the union has been able to make headway in convincing the state government on the payment of the new minimum wage.

According to him,  the negotiation has been suspended but said the two sides would return for a round table discussion before the end of this week and urged workers in the state to remain calm and go about their duties.

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He disclosed that the delay in the approval of the minimum wage and its implementation was due to the insistence of the organised labour led by JNC, NLC and TUC to get a better package for the workers and pensioners.

The NLC Chairman said that the new salary tables on minimum wage presented by the state government were being critically studied to ensure that the implementation of the new minimum would not lead to mass retrenchment.

Adeleye-Oluwole assured that the new minimum wage would capture special allowances for the media, judiciary, parliamentary and health workers, and appealed to the state workforce to exercise patience as the negotiation is at its final stage.

He said, “the negotiation is not led by Nigeria Labour Congress but is led by the Joint Negotiating Council as prescribed by the National Headquarters NLC and TUC, we are just supporting the JNC and that was what we have been doing and I want to say that in the last two months, the JNC in its wisdom set up a negotiation committee and ever since then we have met more than seven times.

“So JNC has a final say concerning this minimum wage. But as at now, based on what happened today (Tuesday) we have gotten to 85 per cent completion. Also, pensioners are been carried along because we believe that all of us will become pensioners eventually.

“From what I have been following, I can say that before this week runs out, we should be able to come out with specific table and we are working on five different tables for the Judiciary, Parliament, Media workers, for the call services, for our counterpart in Health sector and the services has their own peculiar allowances. So, we are working now on five structures including pensioners making it six.

“In the spirit of negotiation, what we really need is to know the data, how much is coming from Ondo state, which we have got and we will also look at the present salary wage bill.”

“As labour leaders, we are not elected to sign what will cause our workers to be retrenched. Last month, the office of the Accountant General was so frustrated that he called us and showed to us (all labour leaders) how they got money to pay November (2019) salary and even at the minimum wage (negotiation) table it was stated to every one of us.

“My advice to JNC as the NLC leader is, don’t sign what can lead to retrenchment of our members because I don’t have the final position, it’s JNC that has the final position on the new minimum wage.”

On the payment of arrears to workers by the state government, the NLC Chairman explained that “not until we are settled in the (negotiation) table until then we can’t discuss the arrears (of the minimum wage), we have not gotten to that level.

“In any minimum wage, it would be stated clearly that this minimum wage will not lead to retrenchment. All those who are involved in the negotiation would be not victimised or intimidated and the government will continue prompt payment of the salary and sustaining it; so with those three things it has covered and government and the labour will jointly sign and if they derailed (in future) we have the document (to fight back).

“Ondo workers should exercise patience and keep their faith with organised labour as led by JNC that will not in any way compromise their welfare.”

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