Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has assured workers in the State that his administration will pay the new minimum wage for workers in the country.
Obaseki gave the assurance while addressing members of the organised labour who were on a protest march to the Government House, in Benin City on Tuesday, to sensitise the people on the planned labour strike over the Federal Government’s alleged refusal to agree on N30,000 minimum wage for workers across the country.
The Governor in his address to the members of the labour unions, noted that his administration is already paying N25,000 while other States are paying N18,000.
He informed the protesters that he will be in Abuja to attend a meeting where Governors are to deliberate on the minimum wage.
“We believe in labour and our government is labour-friendly that is why we have maintained a harmonious relationship with labour in the state and have not had a single strike in two years.
“I want to assure you that whatever we agree in Abuja today (Tuesday), Edo State Government will be the first to implement it,” he assured.
Obaseki who urged the protesters to trust in the present administration led by President Muhammadu Buhari because of its commitment to reduce the suffering of workers in the country, said; “the President Muhammadu Buhari I know will never support that Nigerian workers should suffer because he is committed to the welfare of the common man.”
Earlier in his speech, the Chairman of Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) Edo State Chapter, Comrade Emmanuel Ademokun, commended the Governor for creating a friendly atmosphere that has ensured a harmonious relationship between the government and organised labour in the State.
Also, the Bayelsa government has promised to implement the N30,000 minimum wage being proposed by organised labour unions.
The State Head of Service, Sir Luka Obiri, stated this when the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress led a peaceful protest to Government House in Yenagoa.
He said the Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson has directed the office of the Head of Service and State Finance team to work out modalities to implement the payment of the N30, 000 minimum wage.
Explaining further, he said: “We hear that government and labour unions are still meeting over the issue but be rest assured that the state government would implement any decision that is arrived at the meeting.
“The governor has directed me to tell you that the State Government is in full support of the struggle for the improved minimum wage for workers across the country.
“He also directed me to announce to you that the State Government will implement the N30,000 minimum wage that has been agreed upon by the labour unions and the Federal Government.
“He has directed the office of the Head of Service and the State Finance Committee to work out modalities for the implementation of the new minimum wage.”
While addressing the Head of Service who received the protesting workers, the National President of Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria (MHWU), Comrade Joy Bio-Josiah, thanked the state government for its kind gesture.
He said: “The state government in 2007 issued a formal circular adopting the federal salary structure for civil servants in the State. And since then, the state government has not deviated from that arrangement. For this reason, we want to thank you immensely.”
He also called on Nigerians to ignore claims by the Minister of Labour, Mr Chris Ngige, that government didn’t reach an agreement with labour unions to pay the N30,000 minimum wage.
“At the end of negotiations, the tripartite committee set to look into the issue of improved minimum wage reached an agreement and signed a document that clearly stated that the new minimum wage should be N30, 000.
“So we were surprised when the minister told Nigerians that the federal government didn’t enter an agreement with labour unions to pay N30,000 as the new minimum wage. His claims are not only false but absurd.”