Akwa Ibom State chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has denied signing any agreement with the state government on the new national minimum wage in the state.
Secretary of NLC, Iboro Ibara, stated this while reacting to government’s announcement of payment of the new minimum wage in Uyo yesterday, insisting that negotiations for the final arrangement between it and government had not been concluded.
But in a statement issued by the state government, Governor Udom Emmanuel, said, “I stand by my earlier assurances to the workers on the implementation on the new national minimum wage. “I have adopted and approved the payment of N30, 000 new minimum wage in Akwa Ibom with Federal Government’s negotiated consequential adjustment percentage increase with effect from January 2020.”He also said that he approved one month arrears of the new minimum pay to be paid in subsequent months after January.
“In effect, with the payment of the approved one month arrears, payment of the new minimum wage in Akwa Ibom covers December 2019. “I appreciate our dear workers for their patience and understanding and urge them to reciprocate this gesture with dedication to duty to facilitate actualisation of the completion agenda,” he added.
However, Ibara said, “This is a unilateral decision of the state government and it is not done anywhere. The laws of Nigeria provide for wages to be fixed through collective bargaining in line with Conventions 87 and 89 of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), which Nigeria ratified.
“It also reveals an inherent contempt for freedom of the workplace, which is a critical plank of democratic societies, as well as the fact that serious deficits exist in terms of capacity on the part of the administrators of bureaucracy.
“By this action, the state government is unwittingly igniting an industrial crisis of unmanageable proportions. Enough is enough.”
Ibara noted that the arbitrariness exhibited by the state government in the new minimum pay issue, as in other instancess speaks volumes about an administration that is fast becoming a one-man show.