N30,000 Salary: Labour Unions Disagree With Governors Over New Minimum Wage


The labour unions in Nigeria have disagreed with the Nigeria
Governors’ Forum on the implementation of the N30,000 minimum wage
across the state.

The state governors have, through the forum, said they would not pay
beyond their individual capacity.

Kayode Fayemi, the Chairman of the NGF and Governor of Ekiti State,
after the meeting of the forum in Abuja, said the federal government
could not determine what happens in the state.

Fayemi stated, “The forum as the representative body of the states
keenly followed what happened in the negotiations that led to that
template.

“As far as we are concerned, the best the forum can do is to stick
with what has been agreed with the states. States are part of the
tripartite negotiations.

“The FEC does not determine what happens in the states. Each state has
an executive council which is the highest decision-making organ in the
state.

“As far as we are concerned, the states were part of the tripartite
discussion and agreed to the N30,000 minimum wage.

“States also know there will be consequential adjustments, but that
will be determined by what happens on the state by state basis because
there are different numbers of workers at states. There are different
issues at the state level. Every state has its own trade unions and
joint negotiations committee and they will undertake discussions with
their state governments.”

The governor said there was a difference between the national minimum
wage increase and the general wage review.

Fayemi said, “This is about minimum wage increment; yes that may
necessitate consequential increment, there is no doubt about it, but
that is a matter between the states and their workers.

“The day after this agreement was reached with labour, it was on
record that I was on national television and made the position of the
governors clear. That for us this was a national minimum wage
increase, not a general minimum wage review. Yes, that may necessitate
consequential increment, we have no doubt about that but that it is a
matter for the states to discuss with their workers."

However, reacting to the position of the Forum, the labour unions,
berated the governors.

Ugboaja, in an interview with Punch, said no state could discard the
fact that a minimum wage of N30,000 would be at the centre of every
negotiation.

“Everybody will negotiate differently based on the state economy but
what is sacrosanct is the minimum wage of N30,000 and how that will be
adjusted across the board is the function of collective bargaining
between the workforce and government,” he said.

On its part, the Trade Union Congress said there was an assurance from
the Nigerian government that the official template for the adjustments
would be released to labour this week.

The Secretary-General of the union, Origi Musa-Lawal, however, cautioned Fayemi.

He said, “The state governments are only playing games. They were
represented in the minimum wage committee. They cannot come around to
deny their responsibility. They are simply courting labour anger and
we are ready for them.

“Guidelines have not been released by the federal government but
certainly, we have assurances that the template will soon be
released.”

The union and the federal government had on October 18, 2019, reached
an agreement on the consequential adjustments in workers’ salaries
arising from the new wage structure after about six months of
negotiation.

Both parties agreed on 23.2 percentage increase for workers at grade
level 07; 20 percent for those at grade level 08; 19 percent for
workers at grade level 09; 16 percent for those at levels 10 to 14;
and 14 percent for workers at grade levels 15 to 17.

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