Labour Gives 14-day Ultimatum to Kogi over Minimum Wage

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Ibrahim Oyewale

Members of the organised labour in Kogi State have issued a 14- day ultimatum to the Kogi State government to implement the N30,000 new minimum wage, threatening to embark on an indefinite strike action.

While addressing a media briefing in Lokoja at the weekend, shortly after the meeting of labour leaders, the Kogi State Chairman, Nigeria Labour Congress, (NLC), Mr. Onuh Edoka, said the current administration in the state led by Governor Yahaya Bello was yet to add any value to workers since it was elected in 2016.

Kogi State is one of the seven states yet to implement the national minimum wage as directed by the federal government.

Consequently the President of the NLC, Mr. Ayuba Wabah had directed those affected to commence strike .

Edoka noted that the committee on minimum wage set up on February 14, 2020, by Governor Bello had refused to submit its report for the implementation of the new minimum wage and its consequential adjustment of 23 per cent.

Edoka added that, the present administration also refused to cash back promotion arrears for workers and has continued to pay percentage salaries to local government workers and pensioners in the state without considering the present economic hardship.

He disclosed that the strike action would take effect after the expiration of the two-week ultimatum which begins from January 25, 2022.

He stressed that an ultimatum would be served on the state government as from January 25.
“And to this end, the ultimatum served on the government will be 14 days’ ultimatum. And after the 14 days all workers of the state will proceed on an indefinite strike action.
“It was equally resolved that this government has not added any value to workers since the inception of this administration on the following ground.

“This government has not implemented promotion with cash backing for Kogi workers since its inception. The last promotion that was implemented in Kogi State was in 2013. To this end, Kogi workers have been on the same salary which they have been upon since 2011.

“It was equally resolved that the value not added to Kogi workers include none payment of leave bonus, none implementation of annual increment. At the end, the livelihood of Kogi workers have always been the same and making the workers completely poor.

“It was equally resolved in this house that the percentage salary paid to Kogi workers at the local government level, inclusive teachers, pensioner’s and health workers be brought to an end with immediate effect.

“It was equally resolved in this house that in view of this, the Kogi State government should ensure that labour be engaged in fruitful discussion or else nothing will stop the strike action as it ought to be as the ultimatum will begin on the 25th and it will expire on the date therein,” he added.He emphasised that the planned strike action would cover all categories of workers in Kogi State.

Continuing, Edoka said: “Once you are a state government worker or a local government worker, you must be part of this strike. It is so annoying that since 2020, that a committee was put in place to return it report within four weeks, have tuned to become exactly two years.

“The union in this state and the entire leadership, including workers have continued to show understanding to the government of the day that is why we never allowed any dispute.

“But this understanding have been taking for granted and have shown fully that we the leaders of various unions in this state and workers don’t understand what our rights really look like. I say this because it is until the national headquarter had directed us to proceed on an indefinite strike that we are now waking up from our slumber to join the strike.”

While apologising to Kogi workers for not yielding to their call to embark on an industrial action in the last two years, Edoka said all effort to meet with the government to improve the welfare of workers had proved abortive.

The media briefing had in attendance labour union leaders such as Trade Union Congress, (TUC), the National Union of Local Government Employees, (NULGE), Nigeria Union of Journalist, (NUJ), Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria, (MHWUN), Nigeria Civil Service Union, amongst others.