Ondo, Niger Begin Payment of New Minimum Wage


James Sowole in Akure and Laleye Dipo in Minna
The Ondo State Government and the organised labour in the state yesterday signed an agreement on the payment of N30, 000 new minimum wage effective from January.

Also, the Niger State Government revealed its plan to begin the payment of the minimum wage at the end of the month, though only public servants between Grade Level 1 and 6 will benefit.
The Head of Service, Ondo State, Mr Dare Aragbaye and Niger State Governor, Mr. Sani Bello revealed the plans to pay the new minimum wage at separate fora yesterday.

In Ondo State, Aragbaye signed the agreement on the minimum wage on behalf of the government while Chairman, Joint Negotiating Council (JNC), Mr. Ilesanmi Oyesanmi; Chairman, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Mr. Sunday Adeleye-Oluwole and Chairman, Trade Union Congress (TUC), Helen Odofin signed for the workers.

Under the agreement, the public servants between Grade Level One and Six would enjoy the N30,000 new minimum wage while workers on Grade Level 7 to 17 will enjoy consequential adjustment on their salaries.
According to the pact, the payment would take effect from January 1. The agreement was signed after over eight negotiation meetings involving the parties.
After signing the agreement, Aragbaye observed that the negotiations were carried out with sincerity and in the interest of the generality of workers in the state.

In Niger State, Bello said the state government would only pay the new minimum wage to junior workers because of the heavy wage bill the government is confronted with while receiving the chairmen of the 25 local government councils early in the month.
At the meeting, the governor noted that about 80% of the total income of the state is monthly committed to the payment of salaries and allowances of public servants in the state.

After the meeting, NLC Chairman, Niger State, Mr. Yakubu Garba confirmed the payment, though observed that everything was not alright yet.

Garba said the organised labour rejected N150, 000 the state government gave the labour leaders, urging the state government to use it to pay the consequential adjustments for senior workers because it was not the responsibility of the organised labour to pay salaries”

He asked government “to pay the consequential adjustment to avoid show down with workers. Our ultimatum to government still stands. If the minimum wage is not paid to all category of staff, we will have no alternative to call workers out on strike.”

In the meantime, the meetings between the government and the labour held on Thursday and Saturday were deadlocked. The Deputy Governor, Alhaji Ahmed Ketso presided over the meetings, where the government put all its cards on the table.

In its presentation, the government observed that workers in the health and medical sectors were already earning above the minimum wage and its consequential adjustments.

The state government observed that what the health workers “are earning was above what many states that had started implementing the new minimum wage are paying.”

How to resolve this logjam forced the meeting to adjourn to reconvene latest on Monday. The position of the organised labour will be made known after that meeting.