By Helen Shok Jok, Abuja.
Governors in the 36 States of Nigeria have been urged to immediately commence the implementation of the New National Minimum Wage without further delay.
The Public Service Joint Negotiating Council PSJNC on Tuesday, in Abuja, directed its State Branches to ensure that their respective Governors begin the implementation of the negotiated New National Minimum Wage of 30,000, without further delay.
Rising from a meeting between it and members of the State Negotiating Council in Abuja on Tuesday, the Secretary of the PSJNC, the Chairman of the Public Service Joint Negotiating Council, Comrade Simon Anchaver, said that any State governor who refuses to pay the new wage should be impeached.
He said the meeting was an avenue of interaction to prepare the State Negotiating team to meet their respective State Governors with the already agreed template of implementation as negotiated with the federal government about three weeks ago.
According to him, “Any governor that said he’ll not pay stands to be impeached. We are calling on the States governors to commence implementation of the New National Minimum Wage with immediate effect, that is what we want.
“Any governor that is say he will not pay; I think that governor stands to be impeached. There is this issue of sharing allocation formula, let the State Chairmen of the industrial unions have a salary check and hand over to governors for the implementation….
“We have a bench mark, we have a template, this particular agreement will be taken to the States for implementation”, Anchaver said.
Speaking on the issue of Kaduna State in North-west Nigeria, where the governor has began the implementation of a minimum wage, though without any negotiation with labour and have exempted officers on Grade Levels 15 to 17 in the new wage, the Chairman of the PSJNC promised that the issue would be revisited by labour at the “appropriate time.”
“The issue of Kaduna, the governor has been a controversial governor. And the so called negotiation of the minimum wage he has been done, it will be revisited to go along side with other States, we will not allow him to get away with it.
“We’ll be sending a national officer to the State, it should go along with other States; Some States that said they have started paying are on their own”, Anchaver said.
He said that workers who create the wealth, must also be partakers of the wealth they create.
The Secretary of the PSJNC Comrade Alade Lawal gave a note of caution that no State Council should negotiate below what has been agreed at the national level, but could go higher where necessary.
“You know over the years, about ten to fifteen years ago, we’re in the era of deregulated collective bargaining, meaning that whatever circular you have at the federal will not be necessarily translated to the State level and say they should implement.
“So, we have concluded negotiation at the national level, and the struggle now goes to the States, we are going to have negotiation at the State level, that is the essence of this meeting to exchange ideas, information, exchange data, so that at the end of the day what you are going to be arriving at the State level is something very beneficial to our members and workers throughout the federation”, the Secretary said.
Throwing more light on the template given to the State negotiating team, Comrade Biobelemoye Josiah, the President of the Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria, said the documents given will help the team do a good job.
“The template we are given first, is the agreement as signed- the 23 percent and so on- as signed with the federal government; That is the first document issued to them.
“The second is, you know, from the time we signed the agreement till now, we had expected the government to come up with a table, that would have been a swift reaction from the government, but we are yet to see; but since we are also lettered and some of us are mathematically okay, we have used, we have translated this agreement on the existing structure to what it should be on our side and that is what we have given as a template to the Sates to guide them in their own implementation”, he said.
Labour is also insisting that effective date of the implementation of the new wage across the States must be April 18th 2019, the date it was signed into law by the Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari.