Despite debts, states must implement minimum wage – Labour
Organised labour has said that state governments must be prepared to begin the payment of the new minimum wage of N 30, 000 immediately.
It also said that debtor states would not be given any relief .
President Muhammadu Buhari had on Thursday signed into law the new minimum wage after several months of negotiations between the government and labour union leaders .
The Chairman of the Trade Union Congress, Mr Bobboi Kaigama , made the position of labour known in an interview with one of our correspondents in Abuja on Saturday .
Asked if state governments that owed workers ’ salaries would be allowed to clear the backlog of salaries before commencing payment of the new minimum wage , Kaigama said the inability of the state governments to pay salaries was because of mismanagement of resources at their disposal.
Kaigama said , “ The minimum wage is effective from the day that President Muhammadu Buhari signed it into law. The law must be respected whether you are in the public or private sector . That a state governor owes salaries is not an excuse not to pay the new minimum wage . They have not paid salaries to their workers because they cannot manage the resources in their possession well .
“ They play politics with the resources . Before elections, some of them approached banks and borrowed billions of naira . After elections, they borrowed again to settle part of the outstanding salaries to workers in their states .
“ There will be no relief in any form for any state government ; they must all pay the new minimum wage .
“ We will pursue it one after the other . We commend states that have come out to say that they are going to pay the new wage . We expect other states to come out and say the same . If they don’ t, we will go after them . ”
In a statement signed by the General Secretary of the Nigeria Labour Congress , Dr Peter Ozo- Eson , the union thanked President Buhari for signing the new minimum wage into law while also calling for its immediate implementation.
Also , some state governments on Sunday explained their revenue profile as workers insisted on the immediate payment of the new wage .
The Ondo State Commissioner for Information , Mr Yemi Olowolabi , said the state received an average of N 5 bn to N 6 bn as monthly allocation from the Federal Government every month.
He said , “ The state government is waiting for the decision of the governors ’ forum to decide how the minimum wage would be paid. As soon as the governors ’ forum decides on the matter, our governor will act but for now I don’ t think the governor has decided on the minimum wage issue. ”
On its part, the Akwa Ibom State Government assured its 50, 000 workforce that it would pay the new minimum wage .
The state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Charles Udoh , stated this in Uyo , while speaking with one of our correspondents .
Udoh said Governor Udom Emmanuel had made a commitment to the labour leaders that he would pay the new minimum wage even before the bill was signed by the President.