Minimum Wage: Labour sends strong message to Akwa Ibom Workers

Comrade Sunny James, Akwa Ibom State Chairperson

Minimum wage in Akwa Ibom State

Nigeria Labour Congress, Akwa Ibom Council has sent a strong message to workers on Akwa Ibom State employ concerning implementation of the new National Minimum Wage and consequential adjustments.

An online news platform reports that meeting between the labour center and Government has collapsed. Comrade Sunny James, the state chairperson of Nigeria Labour Congress said affirmed “The meeting between Akwa Ibom State government and the state Labour Congress did not go well. The government has offered labour the Federal Government per centages but labour is insisting on the Federal salary table.

“Alternatively, the government should increase some per centages on top of the Federal percentages on Grade Level 07-14. That is where we are having challenges and the government has made up its mind that it would not increase more than that.”

According to him, “Some of our labour leaders tended to agree but NLC under my leadership will not accept it. So, we left the meeting between the government and the labour on Thursday, January 16 to brief our State Executive Committee members who said they would not accept the government’s proposal. Our stand is that the government must do something about Grade Levels 07-14. That is where negotiation in Akwa Ibom stands.

On the allegation that the state government has bribed the NLC leadership to back down on its present stand on payment of New Minimum Wage and consequential adjustments to workers, he dismissed it as false. “On the issue of giving money, I do not know where some people pick it from. I do not know if the government has given anybody anything to back down. I am not aware of it. If that had happened, I would not have walked out of the negotiation meeting with the state government officials.

“I had to go and brief my people that I would not agree or sign anything that does not favour the workers. Anybody who collects money cannot talk, look at another or disagree with another person talkless of walking out of Secretary to the State Government.”

On the NLC’s next line of action, if the state government does not accede to workers’ demands on payment of new Minimum Wage and consequential adjustments to workers in the state, the NLC boss responded “It is left for the government to call and tell us that they have changed their mind. If they do not change their mind, NLC at the national level has given us up to January 31, 2020, as the second deadline.

Comrade Sunny James and Gov Udom Emmanuel during 2019 May Day celebration at Uyo Township Stadium

“We are trying to work towards that deadline to join them and to go an industrial action. Workers should get ready for it. That is the truth. Workers should get ready to protest where the government does not want to give them their dues.”

Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari signed the bill new Minimum Wage into law on April 18, 2019, and had paid it including arrears to its workers, some states have followed suit while others are about to pay.