Labour kicks as 20 states deny workers wage award

0
50
Spread the love

Eight months after the Federal Government commenced payment of N35,000, a wage award in addition to N30,000 minimum wage to workers, and urged state governments to replicate it, 15 states are yet to do so while seven paid briefly and stopped.

The wage award was to lessen the burden of economic hardship on the citizenry pending the implementation of a new minimum wage.

The Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, described the refusal of some states to pay the wage award to their workers as the height of insensitivity, lamenting the suffering workers were going through as a result of the anti-poor policies of the government.

Meanwhile, 15 states are paying sums ranging from N10,000 to N40,000 to their workers as wage awards or salary increments.

States that are not paying include one in the South-East, four in the South-South, three in the North-East, two in the North-Central and five in the North-West.

Meanwhile, states that paid wage awards for one to four months and stopped include Delta, Niger, Plateau, Kaduna, Bauchi and Nasarawa.

On the other hand, states that are paying are Lagos, Edo, Bayelsa, Imo, Enugu, Anambra, Ebonyi, Ondo, Osun, Ogun, Oyo, Ekiti, Kano, Kwara, Cross River and Taraba.

President Bola Tinubu, in March, during a working visit to Minna, Niger State, urged the 36 state governors to begin payment of wage awards to workers in their states, saying the move will alleviate hardship in the country.

Governors Hyacinth Alia (Benue), Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos) and AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq (Kwara) were among the governors at the event.

Speaking directly to Abdulrazaq, who is chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum, NGF, Tinubu said: “I have been paying wage awards pending determination of the new minimum wage. Let all the sub-nationals start paying that. The wage award, with whatever they are taking now, will relieve the public. I am not giving an order, I am appealing to you sub-nationals. It’s a relief to the people.”

Despite the president’s plea, many states are yet to commence paying wage awards to their workers.
In Delta State, the Commissioner for Information, Dr. Ifeanyi Osuoza said the state government will set up a committee to examine wage-related issues.

He said: “Governor Sheriff Oborevwori said during Workers Day that a committee would be set up to look into it so that, at the end of the day, we can be able to be on the same page with labour and workers; that is the line we are following.”

On whether the committee will look into wage awards in addition to minimum wage, Osuoza said: “Anything that has to do with emoluments for workers, the committee will look at it.”

Rivers and Akwa Ibom governments said they were waiting for an official declaration by the Federal Government on the wage increase while the Delta State government had set up a committee to review workers’ wages.

Governor Umo Eno of Akwa Ibom State assured that his administration will key into the new minimum wage for workers when it comes into force.

“We have directed the compilation of casual workers in the state. We will continue to ensure that we support our workers, and we will continue to do our best to make them happy. We will ensure that we continue to improve our workers’ welfare.

“And on the minimum wage, we will wait for the Federal Government and then we will key into it and come to terms with the minimum wage for Akwa Ibom civil servants,” the governor stated on Workers Day.

The Rivers State Government is also awaiting the outcome of the tripartite negotiations between the Labour, Organised Private Sector, and the Federal Government on minimum wage to determine its next action.

While labour is demanding N250,000 minimum wage, the Federal Government and OPS have offered N62,000. President Tinubu in his Democracy Day broadcast said he will send an executive bill to the National Assembly on the issue soon.

Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Joseph Johnson, said: “With the robust relationship existing between government and workers in the state, we are only waiting for the outcome of ongoing negotiations between Labour and the Federal Government to do the needful. We will take a position when the parties decide what to pay the workers. We will look at the size of our portfolio and decide on what to do.”

President of Rivers State chapter of the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees, NULGE, Clifford Paul, told Vanguard that Governor Sim Fubara had approved the payment of N35,000 to workers
He said Fubara announced the approval during a meeting with NULGE leadership and principal officers of the local government councils at the Government House, Port Harcourt.

“The governor also approved immediate implementation of the N35,000 wage award approved by the Federal Government to cushion the effect of the removal of .”

The chair of the NLC in the state, Alex Agwanwor, regretted that the governor had not commenced the implementation because of political distractions.

He said: “The state government has not started the payment but plans have been concluded. The problem we have now is the political unrest in the state. The political distraction in the state is much and I think it is affecting the implementation.

“We are not bothered about that now. It is not our priority now. What the governor is doing for the workers in the state is even more. We cannot assess his performance based on that because he is taking care of the welfare of the workers with a good heart,” he said.

An Abia, Chairman of the NLC, Okoro Ogbonnaya, pleaded with Governor Alex Otti to approve the payment of the N35, 000 wage awards to mitigate the plights of workers in the face of the biting economic hardship in the country.

In his response, Governor Otti promised to look into the workers’ request and take action very soon.

In Kebbi State, the state government is yet to begin payment of wage award but the governor on May 1, 2024, set up committee to come up with a sustainable minimum wage for workers.

Although Borno and Yobe states under the leadership of Governors Babagana Zulum and Mai Buni, were yet to pay wage award to civil servants or pensioners, the two states have procured and distributed food and non-food items to the citizenry, including civil servants and pensioners, all aimed at cushioning the economic hardship.

In Niger State, the government is paying N30,000 minimum wage. Governor Muhammed Bago paid the sum of N20,000 as a palliative to workers once and inaugurated a committee under the chairmanship of the state Head of Service, Alhaji Abubakar Salisu to work out acceptable minimum wage and salary structure for workers in the state.

The Katsina State government is among the states where some level of compliance had been achieved regarding the payment of some form of palliatives to workers.

Governor Umaru Radda paid N15,000 twice as wage palliative to state and local government workers in the state. Pensioners also got N10,000 twice. The first award was paid in February and second was paid as Ramadan/Sallah package.

Nasarawa State government paid workers the sum of N10,000 twice as wage award.

At the same time, retired workers have been paid the sum of N5,000 for four months.

In like manner, Bauchi State paid N10,000 to its civil servants during the Sallah celebration and gave out some food items as palliatives at other times.

The Plateau State Government has paid N12,000 as palliative to each of its workers for six months.

Edo and Bayelsa states have announced wage increment for civil servants in the two states.

Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, who signaled the surprise package for workers, gave them a shocker on April 29, two days before Workers Day, when he announced a new minimum wage of N70,000.

He said the new scheme would begin in May, and if the negotiated wage between the Federal Government and labour were higher, the government would make necessary adjustments. As he promised, he started paying the 70,000 minimum wage in May. The Bayelsa State government also approved wage awards for its workers.

A breakdown of the wage awards, worked out by a committee headed by the head of the state’s civil service, revealed that workers from Grades 1–14 received N20,000; 15–17 cadre got N30,000 and Permanent Secretaries N100,000.

Confirming the development, chairman of Trade Union Congress, TUC, in Bayelsa, Julius Laye said: “In Bayelsa State, the payment started last month, although those at the local government received about five months, and it stopped.”

Governor Hope Uzodinma gave Imo workers N10,000, bringing their current minimum wage to N40, 000.
Imo State government also said it has provided free transportation scheme for workers as part of measures to cushion effect of fuel subsidy removal.

In Enugu, Governor Peter Mbah has been paying wage award since December 2023, to the employees of the state government, local government workers and primary school teachers.

For the state civil servants, the state government pays N25,000 to each worker, but pays N10,000 to employees of local governments and primary school teachers.

Speaking on the issue, Chairman of the TUC in the state, Ben Asogwa, said that workers in the state are happy with the payments, which he described as evidence that the governor is committed to workers’ welfare.

In Ebonyi, Governor Francis Nwifuru added N10,000 as wage award to the salaries of civil servants in the State.

In Ondo State, the government is paying N35,000 wage award to workers and N10,000 to pensioners.
Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Ebenezer Adeniyan, said the payment started in October last year.

Adeniyan added that it was supposed to be for three months but the governor extended it, adding that shuttle buses have been provided for workers and schoolchildren across the state by Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa’s administration.

In Osun State, the government is paying N15,000 to workers while retirees get N10,000 as wage award. The governor had approved payment of wage award since December 2023, and has been paying the said amount till date.

The Ogun State government is paying N10,000 wage award to all categories of workers in the state. Chairman of the TUC in the state, Mr. Lasisi Akeem, said government has been paying N10,000 transport allowance to all civil servants for the past nine months and N10,000 to pensioners

Akeem added that the state government has paid 40 per cent of the basic salary of workers in the state as Peculiar Allowance, to cushion effect of fuel subsidy removal.

In Oyo, the state government pays N25,000 to its workers and N15,000 to pensioners. Governor Seyi Makinde started paying the awards in November 2023.

In addition, the governor also approved payment of 13th month salary to the workers, and released buses to major parts of the state at highly subsidized rates.

Before the six months he promised to pay N25,000 lapsed, he extended the payment of palliatives for another six months making one year.

In Kwara State, civil servants are being paid N10,000 wage award by the state government.
“We are being paid monthly N10,000 wage award by Kwara State government since subsidy removal,” Muritala Olayinka, the NLC chairman, told Vanguard.

In Anambra, Governor Chukwuma Soludo paid N12, 000 for four months between September to December 2023.
Soludo had earlier announced a 10 per cent salary increase, which the state has been paying since January 2023 as part of his response to rising cost of living.

The workers, however, expressed disappointment when the wage increase was stopped at the end of last year. During the last workers’ day celebration on May 1, this year, the state chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Humphrey Nwafor pleaded with Governor Soludo to re-introduce the wage increase in view of the biting inflation in the country, while waiting for the expected new minimum wage.

In Lagos, workers have been getting N35,000 wage award since December 2023 in addition to N35,000 minimum wage to its workers.

Commissioner for Establishment, Training and Pensions, Afolabi Ayantayo, said the payment is in line with Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s commitment to welfare of workers.

“This is in addition to a three-day work week for Levels 1-13 civil servants, which was introduced this year. This measure aims to provide relief and flexibility reflecting the state government commitment to the workforce’s well-being,” he added.

The Kano State government has been paying workers N20,000 and pensioners N15,000 as wage awards.
In Taraba, the state government is paying the N30,000 minimum wage, and salary increment of N10,000 to N15,000 to workers.

Reacting to the development, an official of NLC, who spoke on condition of anonymity since he was not authorised to speak, said: “It is a fact that many state governors are not implementing the wage award which was a product agreement Organised Labour reached with the Federal Government on October 5, 2023. This was a product of the understanding of the huge negative consequences government’s policies had foisted on Nigerian works across the nation. This was supposed to be cascaded down to the states by the governors in a dialogue with NLC and TUC in their respective states.

“Governors that are not complying are mainly those who have continued to demonstrate serious disdain and contempt for the plight of workers who create wealth in their states. It is insensitive for a governor who has adjusted upwards the wages of political appointees in their states to believe that workers do not have the right to have a fair share of the resources of the state.

“It is worthy of note that all the governors are beneficiaries of the increased revenue from FAAC as a result of the hike in the price of PMS which created multiples of revenues to the state treasuries. However, because the welfare of the workers are not prioritized by the governors, they divert them into other projects which sometimes are wasteful.

“It is unfortunate that many Governors have continued to see workers’ salaries as charity which it is not. This has shaped their mindset into believing that salaries are a waste instead of an investment which it should be for the state because when workers are paid well, productivity increases and vice versa.”

Leave a reply