Any governor not ready to pay should be ready for a showdown, Nigerian labour leaders said on Monday, adding that they will insist on the ‘consequential increment’ in their negotiation with states on the payment of minimum wage.
The Labour leaders who spoke in separate interviews with The Nation, were united that states should pay as expected.
Secretary-General of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Musa-lawal Ozigi, said: “The governors are jokers. You know why? Because they were part of the minimum wage committee, they cannot say they don’t know what happened. The state governments are only playing games. They were represented in the minimum wage committee. They cannot come round to deny their responsibility. They are simply courting labour anger and we are ready for them.
“The statement is only to test Labour’s resolve to ensure that the dividend of minimum wage gets to everybody and we are ready for them.
“All the governors in Nigeria receive the same salaries. Even the states that cannot produce anything, they receive the same salaries with states that can produce something. So, they cannot also deny their workers what they should get.
“We have finished battling with the Federal Government and the consequential increase has been signed. It is time to go to the states to ensure that justice is done to everybody.
“Once the template we signed with the Federal government is passed to the states, we will then know which state said it cannot implement or pay. The template is not for negotiations but for implementation.
“We are not asking the federal government to help us in telling states what to do with the template. Labour will do its own job.
The General-Secretary of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Emmanuel Ugbaoja, said: “It will be a function of collective bargaining and not a function of directive from a governor. The leadership of labour in the various states will negotiate with the government in those states.
“We are done with that of federal government the negotiation moves to the state level. That’s what the situation is.”
NLC Deputy President, Comrade Amaechi Asugwuni, who appeared on Politics Today on Channels Television yesterday, said labour would apply other tactics to get governors to comply with the implementation of the new minimum wage.
Asugwuni said: “It is true that every state will have to re-engage labour at the state level. It is going to be a product of collective bargaining at the level of the state. The Joint Negotiating Council and the state government will look at the agreement at the federal level using it as a guide to also produce their own table at the state level.”