By Steve Oni, Ilorin
Kwara State Chapter of the Organised Labour Unions has given the state government 14 days ultimatum effective from Monday, September 28, 2020 to implement the N30,000 new minimum wage, or face an industrial action.
The unions made this known on Monday in a statement signed by their respective leaders: Issa Ore, state NLC chairman; Ezekiel Adegoke, acting TUC chairman and Saliu Suleiman, chairman State Joint National Council.
The statement stated: “We observed that the state government after conclusion of negotiation on the new minimum wage has refused to sign the agreement for immediate implementation to all categories of workers of this state despite our several letters to this effect which were not properly responded to by the state government.
“Having critically analyzed the economic implication of the present situation on the agreed minimum wage, we therefore demand immediate signing and implementation of the already agreed minimum wage for all categories of workers of the state, including an upward review of the negotiated minimum wage by 50% for kwara workers.”
The unions also said that “it noted with dismay the directive of Governor AbdulRazaq to the ministry of finance to stop deduction and remittance of Union check-off dues and other third party deductions to the concerned unions and associations in the state, whereas deduction of check-off dues is statutory obligation of every employer of labour where union operates.”
The organised labour unions have therefore urged Governor AbdulRazaq to reverse the directive and start remitting to all concerned industrial unions and associations without further delay.
They also called on Governor AbdulRazaq to pay hazard allowance to the state health workers on the frontline of battle against COVID-19, while cautioning him (Governor) not to cause salary disparity among workers in health sectors in the state and local governments, adding that he should approve the 10% outstanding CONHESS to local government workers just like he did for state workers.
Other demands from labour unions to the state government are: “payment of pension arrears from 2015 to 2019, payment of salary increase harmonization in 2010 implemented for state pensioners since 2011 whereas its implementation for local government pensioners is still hanging, payment of gratuity of retired workers for state and LG retirees respectively.”
Reacting to the ultimatum, the state government in a statement by the Governor’s Chief Press Secretary Rafiu Ajakaye, said: “First and foremost, the Kwara State Government and labour unions have enjoyed a very cordial relationship for the past one year. That relationship has been based on mutual understanding and mutual show of good faith, and to that extent I want to say that negotiations are ongoing and both sides are showing good faith. That fine relationship will continue and I can assure you that there would not be any need for the unions to proceed on any industrial action.
“We commend them for their patience and for their understanding. Like I said, negotiations are ongoing and they may not be any need for strike because the two sides are showing mutual understanding. We’re showing good faith as a government, as we also commend labour unions in the state and the entire workforce in the state.
“Very soon there will be some pronouncements on the minimum wage.”
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