Labour Issues 14-day Ultimatum to Kwara over Minimum Wage

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By Hammed Shittu

Organised labour unions in Kwara State under the aegis of Joint Kwara State Labour Congress (JKLC) yesterday issued the state government a 14-day ultimatum to sign the N30,000 new minimum wage into law or risk industrial action.

The state government, in a swift response, said in a statement issued by the governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Rafiu Ajakaye, that negotiation is ongoing based on the existing mutual relationship between the government and the organised labour unions in the state.

The organised unions made their decisions known in a resolution at the end of its congress signed by the state Chairmen of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and state Joint Negotiating Council (JNC), Aliyu Issa Ore,Ezekiel Adegoke and Saliu Suleiman respectively, a copy of which was made available to journalists in Ilorin.

The organised labour in state also accused the state government of not remitting union dues and third party deductions among other sundry allegations.

The resolution read: “We observe that the state government, after the negotiation of the new minimum wage, has refused to sign the agreement for immediate implementation to all categories of workers in the state despite our several letters to this effect.

“The congress, having critically analysed the economic implication of the present situation on the agreed minimum wage, therefore, demands the immediate signing and implementation of the already agreed minimum wage for all categories of workers of the state, as well as review of the negotiated minimum wage by 50 percent for the state workers.

“We note with dismay the directive of the state Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, to the state ministry of finance to stop deductions and/or remittance of union check-off dues and other third party deductions to the concerned unions and associations in the state.

“We, therefore, urge the state government to reverse this directive and remit to all concerned industrial unions and associations all deducted dues without further delay.

“We also condemn in strong terms the non-payment of COVID-19 allowances to the health workers at the frontline of battle against this pandemic in the state.

“It is on this note that the congress resolved that we should give the state government a 14-day ultimatum effective from today September 28 to October 12, 2020, with which to resolve all our demands.

“If it fails, we will have no other option than to embark on industrial action to press home our demands.”

In the meantime, the governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Ajakaye, in a statement issued in Ilorin yesterday, said: “Firstly 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 mutual show of good faith, and to that extent, I want to say that 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 any need for the unions to proceed on any industrial action.

“We commend them for their patience and for their understanding. Like I said, negotiations are ongoing and they may not be any need for strike because the two sides are showing mutual understanding,” he said in the statement.