As workers in Ondo state still await the implementation of the N30,000 minimum wage, the organised labour in the state has explained that they will not sign any new wage agreement that will lead to the retrenchment of its members.
The State Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Sunday Adeleye-Oluwole who disclosed this to newsmen yesterday in Akure said negotiations over the new minimum wage which was hitherto suspended, had resumed and it was now 85per cent concluded.
He said the process may be concluded before the end of this week.
According to Adeleye-Oluwole, the delay in the minimum wage approval and implementation in Ondo State was caused by the insistence of the organized labour led by JNC, NLC and TUC to get a better package for the workers and pensioners.
The NLC Chairman noted that the new salary tables on minimum wage presented by the state government was being critically studied to ensure that agreed new salaries do not lead to irregular payment, mass retrenchment and it would be sustainable.
Adeleye-Oluwole assured that the new minimum wage would capture special allowances for the media, judiciary, parliamentary and health workers, appealing to the state workforce to still exercise patience as the negotiation was now at the final stage.
He said, “the negotiation is not led by Nigeria Labour Congress but is led by the Joint Negotiating Council as prescribed by the National Headquarters NLC and TUC, we are just supporting the JNC and that was what we had been doing and I want to say that in the last two months, the JNC in its wisdom setup negotiation committee and ever since then we have met more than seven times.
“So JNC has a final say concerning this minimum wage. But as at now, base on what happened today (Tuesday) we have gotten to 85per cent completion. Also, pensioners are been carry along because we believe that all of us become pensioners.
“From what I have been following I can say that before this week runs out we should be able to come out with a specific table and we are working on five different tables for Judiciary, Parliament, Media workers, For the call services, For our counterpart in the Health sector and the services, has their own peculiar allowances. So we are working now on five structure including pensioners making it six.
“In the spirit of negotiation, what we really need is to know the data, how much is coming from Ondo state, which we have got and we also, look at the present salary wage bill.”
“As labour leaders, we are not elected to sign what will cause our workers to be retrenched. Last month, the office of the Accountant General was so frustrated that he called us and showed to us (all labour leaders) how they got money to pay November (2019) salary and even at the minimum wage (negotiation) table it was stated to every one of us.
“My advice to JNC as NLC leader is, don’t sign what can lead to retrenchment of our members because I don’t have the final position, it’s JNC that has the final position on the new minimum wage.”
On the payment of arrears to workers by the state government, the NLC Chairman explained that “but not until we are settled in the (negotiation) the table then we can’t discuss the arrears (of the minimum wage), we have not gotten to that level.
“In any minimum wage, it would be stated clearly that this minimum wage will not lead to retrenchment all those who are involved in the negotiation would not victimize or intimidate and the government will continue prompt payment of the salary and sustaining it; so with those three things it has covered and government and the labour will jointly sign and if they derailed (in future) we have the document (to fight back).”
He concluded that “Ondo workers should exercise patience and keep their faith with organized labour as led by JNC that will not in any way compromise their welfare.”