The Nigeria Labour Congress has said that no fewer than 16 states have commenced the payment of N30, 000 minimum wage.
The states include Lagos, Borno, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, Jigawa, Yobe, Katsina, Ondo, Sokoto, Kebbi, Kano, Kaduna, Bayelsa, FCT, Anambra and Akwa – Ibom.
NLC President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba disclosed this during a meeting with members of the National Administrative Council (NAC) on Tuesday in Abuja.
The NAC also discussed the security challenge in the country, the decision of the Federal Government to borrow N2tn from the Pension Fund and casualisation of workers, especially by banks.
He said organised labour was not consulted on the decision of the government to borrow from the money.
Wabba said the union will keep its eyes open in order to ensure the safety of the N10 trillion pension funds.
“We will keep our eyes very open to ensure the safety of those funds and we also urge government to respect the provision of the law because it is only the pension fund administrator (PFA) that can actually invest the fund in such a way and manner that the safety of the funds will be guaranteed and there will be maximum return on investment.
Wabba said that while seventeen states were on the negotiating table, Taraba state government was yet to set up a committee to begin a dialogue with labour leaders in the state.
He called on the state government to inaugurate a committee in order to commence a dialogue.
Wabba said: “We have been able to make some progress. As I speak to you today from the initial six states that we mentioned in the last press conference, today we have 16 that have signed and commenced (payment).
“We have about three that have reached an agreement but have not signed. We have about seventeen that negotiation is ongoing. I can say authoritatively that it is only in Taraba that nothing has started.
“The committee has not been inaugurated, the process of dialogue has not commenced and therefore, I want to use this medium to call on the Taraba state government to quickly respect the provision of the minimum wage Act.”
He insisted that there is no excuse for any state government not to pay the minimum wage since it had become law.
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Wabba said: “The minimum wage Act is already a law and every political officeholder must respect the sanctity of our constitution and also the sanctity of the oath of office they have sworn to uphold.
“If a worker is entitled to be paid his wages, the wages must be commensurate to what has been negotiated.
“Minimum wage implementation is observed in 90 per cent of the countries of the world and we cannot be an exception.
“There is no excuse for any state not to pay (the minimum wage). 85 per cent of the VAT increase goes to the state. Therefore, they don’t have any excuse not to pay workers the minimum wage, a minimum wage that will be negotiated not a minimum wage that will be a peanut that cannot even take a worker home.”
He berated the River State government for sealing off the state secretariat of the NLC.
“We condemn in very strong term the undemocratic action of the Rivers state government who went in the night to seal off NLC Rivers state secretariat under the laughable pretence of structural integrity. It is a shame.
“It is a clear violation of the International Labour Organisation Convention of 87, 98 and the labour Act which retrain public authorities from taking such action.
“We demand the immediate opening of the office and respect for workers’ rights,” he said.