By Mumini AbdulKareem
Labour unions in the state have rejected the proposal of the Kwara State government on the new minimum wage, National Pilot reliably gathered last night.
Towards this end, a letter giving the government 14 days ultimatum to either implement the new wage or face industrial action will be issued to the government on Monday (today).
This development is coming despite the position of the government that it has agreed to pay N30,000 to workers in the state.
The state government through the commissioner of Finance and Planning, Mrs Oyeyemi Olasumbo Florence on Friday had said the state government had agreed to pay the new minimum wage of N30,000 while talks are still “rightly ongoing on the negotiation on consequential adjustment”.
The unions and government have been locked in protracted negotiation which lasted for three days since Tuesday but failed to reach consensus on the matter.
It was gathered that the Friday’s tripartite meeting fixed for 6pm which drew the curtain on the marathon negotiations ended abruptly with the unions walking out on the government over alleged insincerity.
There have been high expectations in the state that Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq after the signing of the budget on Friday would approve the new proposal.
But speaking on the issue last night, the chairman of the Kwara State branch of the Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Comrade Yunus Saliu who confirmed the rejection of the position of government by the union further reveal the letter of ultimatum will be issued to the government today.
He advised the people to disregard reports especially on social media that the government and the union have reached truce over the matter.
According to him, “We did not agree on anything, don’t listen to all what is going on in social media that an agreement had been reached. Who did we agree with? We stormed out of the meeting on Friday and since then; they have not called us again for any talks.
“We maintained our stand, they have a different table which we did not agree with and we will not tolerate that. We are the ones that should announced to our people that the Governor has said they are giving us N30,000 as minimum wage and we have agreed to it, not them.
“We are not going into any negotiation again, we will be issuing the government a letter for two weeks ultimatum tomorrow to (either implement the new minimum wage or we cannot guarantee industrial harmony) in the state. We don’t think they are serious about the whole thing. It’s the same old song that what Kwara is receiving is not enough”, he added.
We did not agree because the table they even brought this time is even worse. We disagreed with them and by Monday w are issuing them 14 day ultimatum. We don’t think they are serious about the whole thing. It’s the same old song that what Kwara is receiving is not enough. But are not going to take it this time around, he added.
President Muhammadu Buhari early in the year okayed the new wage and subsequently signed it into law for federal workers across the country.
Since the president action, labour had vowed to picket states that reneged to implement the new directive. Most of the disagreements had centred on the consequential adjustment with the national leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) accusing state governors of shunning welfare of workers and implementation of the new minimum wage while wasting public funds on weddings, funerals and private jets.
Both the national leaderships of the TUC and NLC issued January 31st, 2020 and December 31st, 2019 as deadlines for the state to implement the new minimum wage, both dates which had already lapsed.