Awka – The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) in Anambra State says it will continue the struggle for the full implementation of the new minimum wage and the consequential adjustments as agreed by government and labour, immediately the coronavirus pandemic abates.
The State NLC Chairman, Comrade Jerry Nnubia disclosed this in a chat with TNC correspondent on Monday on the state of workers’ welfare in the state.
Anambra Governor, Willie Obiano prides himself as one of the governors in the country who have paid the new minimum wage of #30, 000 naira.
But according to the State NLC Chairman, Comrade Nnubia, what Anambra Government paid can be best described as bonuses and not the new minimum wage.
He revealed that only the least workers were paid the #30,000 minimum wage, while from grade level seven and above received only bonuses of varying sums.
“It is not true, the claims that Anambra State Government has implemented the new Minimum wage. What they paid is what I would call bonuses. Only low level workers received #30,000 while from grade level seven, got varying sums like N1,000, N2,000, N3,000 and so on. So we are still battling with the issue of implementation of the new minimum wage and its consequential adjustments,” he revealed.
According to Nnubia, labour was in the process of reengaging government on the matter when COVID-19 happened.
He reassured workers in the state that the NLC is committed to getting government comply with the negotiated minimum wage.
“We are committed to ensuring that the minimum wage as negotiated and signed by the Tripartite meeting involving Labour, Government and the Organized Private Sector, is fully implemented. The COVID pandemic is subsiding and we will recommence that negotiation. If government fails to harken to our demands, we will embark on industrial action until they hear us,” he said.
On plans to deregulate the National Minimum Wage legislation, the Labour leader said the Bill which is presently at the Committee stage, having passed First and Second Reading at the floor of the Green Chambers, is anti-workers.
He wondered why the politicians have not thought about decentralizing their wages and allowances, from the National Wages and Salaries Commission, saying that if such decentralization must be done, it must start from the top.
“If non-graduates occupying various political positions will continue to enjoy their salaries as structured by the National Wages and Salaries Commission, one would then ask, ‘why not the workers?’ If this Bill is allowed to stand, the implication is that workers will be left at the mercy of these wicked governors. One Governor can just wake up one morning and say he will pay N5,000 and if you don’t like it, you can go. It is also a ploy to disunite labour and make it weak in agitating for the welfare of its members. Every right-thinking person should rise in condemnation of this obnoxious Bill and ensure that it does not see the light of the day,” he said.
Nnubia also sent a message across to the 35 State Legislatures to be wary of the Bill and quash it if it eventually makes it through the National Assembly.