Comrade Biobelemoye, Others Commend FG for Minimum Wage Law and Plea for Swift Implementations

Comrade Josiah Biobelemoye

.Launches fresh move against casualisation

• Okowa urges colleagues to pay workers N30,000
• Imo govt tasks Ihedioha on salaries, pensions.

Comrade Josiah Joy Biobelemoye, Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria(MHWUN) , Joint Health Sector Union (Johesu) National President made this commendation during an interview with the Newsmen yesterday, at Eagle Square, Abuja, venue of the Worker’s day, celebration.

He thanked the Federal government for assenting to Nigeria minimum wage act and urged them to follow up to ensure its being  implementated immediately.

Earlier on that day, at the AIT Pre-Workers day celebration media chat,  he spoke about the plight of average Nigeria workers and how the minimum wage increase will insignificantly affect their living standards and the way forward

 

“Well, I commend the Federal government for what they have done but it does not stop there, initially some states said that they won’t pay but all have agreed to pay now”.

He added, “Can you imagine, my own state  governor(Bayelsa) is even ready to pay #50,000.

If you put all into calculation #30,000 amount to #1,000 everyday of the month and its translates to nothing  when you enters market with it. So I am giving them commendations because I believe they can do more”, he said.

He concluded by urging all in power to have interest of the people in mind in whatever they do. They should always try to work on things that will better the lives of the citizens, and they as unionists are ready to do anything to improve working lives of the members.

At the AIT Pre-May celebration, Comrade Biobelemoye also spoke about the plight of average Nigeria workers and how the minimum wage increase will insignificantly affect their living standards and the way forward.

 

As workers in the country marked the 2019 May Day in all the states in Nigeria, there were also calls from other quarters that the government at all levels should begin the implementation of the N30,000 new national minimum wage across the nation.

The General Secretary of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Dr. Peter Ozo-Eson,.in his own words, said the organised labour, formally is asking all employers of labour in the country to begin the payment of the new wage from this month.

According to him, getting the new minimum wage law implemented is not a one-off process but one that requires diligence and accuracy.

“A law takes effect from the day it is signed. So, the minimum wage law takes effect from the 18th of April, 2019 when it was signed by the president. The actual implementation, when the money would be paid, including whatever arrears that are there, is a matter for individual employer’s consultations with the relevant unions. That is how that would take place. As such, that sets the stage for actual implementation because while in some sectors there may not be difficulty at all and implementation will just go on unimpeded, we know that, particularly in respect to some states, there would be different levels of struggle that would still have to be executed in order to make the new wage

This is because paying the minimum wage would require working out a salary table and how things fit into it. Each state is expected to deal with such situations, likewise at the federal level. So, these are the stages of struggles we are envisaging, but we are insisting that all these need to be sorted out very quickly so that actual implementation can start with the May 2019 salary,” he said.

Zoo-Eson also hinted that the labour movement would continue to take hard stance on casualisation but would be methodological in its approach with a view to getting the best bargain for Nigerian workers.He said the NLC had signed memorandums of understanding with some employers as well as employment agencies to inculcate the spirit of decent work as spelt out by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) relevant conventions.

”We have been engaged on the issue of casualisation for a very long time through a committee. We have even picketed a number of places. Some of those engagements have yielded results. For instance, at the Abuja Environmental Agency, we were able to get a memorandum of understanding signed that ensures casual workers are treated right.

”Apart from that, we are also working with companies that are involved in providing outsourcing services. We have also reached a memorandum of understanding with them such that whoever they employ and supply to places of work will be governed by all the issues of decent work, including guarantee of minimum wage and right to unionise,” he stated.

Relatedly, Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa urged his counterparts in other states to pay the new N30, 000 minimum wage to workers.Okowa, in an Interview with State House correspondents in Abuja yesterday said the new wage was long overdue, arguing that N18, 000 was no longer sustainable.

“We are actually going to pay the N30, 000; we have made our statement long before the new minimum wage was even approved. I actually believe that it’s long overdue because N18, 000 is definitely not sustainable.“I have told my colleagues and the NLC president that this time, we must understand what minimum wage is. It is not supposed to be a general salary increment. Those at the bottom of the rung should actually benefit much more than those at the top and it ought to be so,” he said.

In Imo State, the Secretary to the Government, Mark Uchendu, advised the incoming administration of Emeka Ihedioha to give priority to the payment of salaries and pensions.The workers in the state under the aegis of the NLC and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) have been at loggerheads with the government over the non-payment of salary and pension arrears for months.

Uchendu told the newsmen in Owerri that soon, the state would suffer a heavy financial setback if efforts were not made to “accommodate the purging number of pensioners as well as regularise salary and pension payment.”

“I will request the incoming administration to take this matter of payment of salaries and pensions seriously,” the SSG promised.The Kaduna NLC called on workers to be more diligent and dedicated in their services to humanity as they await the payment of the N30,000 minimum wage, which it said would commence this month.

Speaking at the pre-lecture held in Kaduna, at a pre-May Day lecture held in Kaduna with the theme: “‘Uniting Workers for Social and Economic Advancement.” State Chairman of the NLC, Comrade Ayuba Sulaiman said that the lecture was organised to mobilise workers towards the celebration of the International Workers Day and also enlighten them on the importance of the event.

“‘During this celebration, we are offering solidarity to the cause of social justice, freedom of expression, human rights and the rule of law, and we are supporting democracy.`On May Day, we present our grievances, our needs, our agitations to the political class for succour, promote our unity and solidarity because strength lies in our unity,” he said.

The lead presenter at the event, Mr. Isah Aremu, commended the NLC for fighting for the new minimum wage.“We must be united so that we can bargain together or be divided and become beggars; we must have unity to create jobs, unity for prosperity against poverty, among others,” he said

Pamela Ogwata Reports.

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