Organised labour on Monday told state governments that they must begin payment of the N30,000 new minimum wage by the end of May.
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) said during a pre-May Day rally tagged, ‘March for jobs, our rights and shared prosperity’ in Abuja that defaulting states would incur the wrath of workers.
The Deputy President of the NLC, Najeem Yasin, who said the new minimum wage was long overdue, called on governors to ensure its implementation.
He said, “We are staging this rally to sensitise Nigerian workers ahead of May Day on Wednesday. It is also part of the centenary celebrations of the International Labour Organisation.
“As we prepare for May Day, we urge all state governments to implement the N30,000 new minimum wage. There should be no delay. The new wage is long overdue.
“This rally is also about job creation. We are not happy with the country’s high unemployment rate. We have thousands of youths that are unemployed. We call on the private sector to complement government’s efforts to eradicate unemployment in the country.
“We also call on the Federal Government to create the enabling environment for private sector participation in job creation.”
Another Deputy President of the NLC and President of the Nigeria Union of Teachers, Nasir Idis, said organised labour would make any state that refused to pay the new minimum wage ungovernable for the governor.
He said, “We want to call on governors to ensure that they implement the new minimum wage. The NLC and TUC will not condone any governor that fails to implement the N30,000 minimum wage. They had representatives on the committee that arrived at the new minimum wage of N30,000.
“We will make any state that refuses to implement the new wage ungovernable for the governor. We will use our might and strength to ensure that all governors pay the money.”
The President of the Civil Service Union, Amaechi Uchechukwu, stated that organised labour expected all states to pay the new minimum wage by the end of May.
The Vice-President of the NLC said, “We need to awaken the consciousness of our members to the importance of this year’s May Day. The focus of this year’s celebration is on the implementation of the new minimum wage. We expect the money to be paid by the end of May 2019.
“We have a problem with the governors because some of them will not want to pay.
“We have asked them to cut down on their excesses to accommodate workers’ welfare.
“We will occupy any state that refuses to pay by the end of May.
“It will be a war between organised labour and any state that fails to implement it by the end of May 2019.
“They must pay the arrears of April and full May salaries because the new minimum wage bill was signed into law in April. We don’t have any problem with the Federal Government, but we are ready to engage state governments on this issue.”
The Chairman of the TUC chapter in the Federal Capital Territory, Amodu Olayinka, said Wednesday’s celebration would present labour an opportunity to talk about workers’ main agitation, the new minimum wage.