The organised labour in Kwara State, on Monday, gave the State Government a 14-day ultimatum over non-payment of the negotiated new minimum wage.
This was contained in a press statement jointly signed on September 28 by the state Chairman of the Nigerian Labour Congress, Aliyu Issa Ore; the Acting State Chairman of Trade Union Congress, Ezekiel Adegoke; the Chairman Joint Negotiation Council, Saliu Suleiman.
In the statement, the labour leaders threatened industrial action if the governor failed to pay the new minimum wages and address other issues raised within the ultimatum period.
The statement read, “We observed that the State Government after the conclusion of the negotiation of the New Wage have refused to sign the agreement for immediate implementation to all categories or Workers of this state despite our several letters to this effect which was not properly responded to by the State Government.
“The congress, having critically analyzed the economic implication of the present situation on the agreed Minimum Wage, therefore demand for immediate signing and implementation of the already agreed Minimum Wage for all categories of Workers of the State and as well upward review of the negotiated minimum wage by 50% for Kwara State Workers.
On COVID-19 allowances, the labour unions said, “We condemned in strong term non-payment of COVID-19 allowance to the health workers at the frontline of battle against Covid-19 pandemic in the State.”
The labour union urged the pay the heath workers accrued allowances without further delay.
“It is on this note that the congress resolved that we should give the State Government fourteen (14) days ultimatum effective from today Monday 28 September to Monday 12th October 2020 with which to resolve all the demands mentioned above. Failure of which we have no other option to embark on industrial action to press home our demands,” it added.
In his reaction, the governor’s spokesperson, Rafiu Ajakaye expressed the government’s commitment to pay the minimum wage.
He said, “First and foremost, the Kwara State Government and labour unions have enjoyed a very cordial relationship for the past one year. That relationship has been based on mutual understanding and mutual show of good faith, and to that extent I want to say that negotiations are ongoing and both sides are showing good faith. That fine relationship will continue and I can assure you that there would not be any need for the unions to proceed on any industrial action.
“We commend them for their patience and for their understanding. Like I said, negotiations are ongoing and there would not be any need for any strike action because the two sides are showing mutual understanding. We’re showing good faith as a government, as we also commend labour unions in the state and the entire workforce in the state.
“Very soon there will be some pronouncements on the minimum wage.”