Despite the fact that the state government has agreed to pay the N18,000 minimum wage to workers in Osun State, the government and the labour leaders in the state could not agree on the mode of implementation of the wage, as the workers have vowed to embark on an industrial action effective from Friday.
While the state government said that it would successfully implement the new wage for workers on salaries between grade levels one and seven, the labour leaderswere demanding the implementation of the minimum wage for all workers across board.
Should the state government implement the salary table as presented to the governor bythe workers, it would cost the state additional N600 million every month to meet the salary table.
At the negotiation meeting with the labour leaders on Friday, the governor informed the unions; “we are ready to pay the N18,000 minimum wage for workers between levels one and seven, because the resources of the state as at today can only cope with increment for that category of workers from level one to seven”.
Reading a letter addressed to him by the labour unions, informing him of their intention to embark on an industrial action should the state government refuse to comply with their demands, the governor said; “it is not true that the state is not ready to pay the N18,000 minimum wage”.
“The regular income to OsunState cannot support the implementation across board once and for all, application of the intention of the minimum wage as interpreted by labour. We are very sympathetic with labour unions, and as our circumstances improves, we shall progressively be applying to other categories of workers that will not be affected in the table as we have planned now.
“The workers have said they are on strike, but it is not possible for the state to pay what it cannot pay. I requested for maturity from all of us as workers and the government. It is legitimate for workers to go on strike because, strike is the tool recognized by all civilised groups and entity to press-in legitimate demands, but I believe that the workers can use that legitimate tool in a responsible manner.
“The minimum wage act says that all employers of labour in Nigeria with 50 employees and above must not pay not less than N18,000 to any of its employees. It does not say that there is a wage review. We are not even legalistic, we are only saying that the resources of the state cannot cope across board now”, the governor.
The chairman Joint Negotiation Council (JNC), Comrade Bayo Adejumo had however promised that the labour leaders would meet the unions’ members and get back to the governor on their stand.