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Friday, September 18, 2020

Workers in Ogun state commences strike action over unpaid minimum wage

State government workers have embarked on a one-week warning strike in Ogun over the refusal of the government to implement the new national minimum wage.

The strike was declared on Tuesday evening by Emmanuel Bankole, the state chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).

The NLC had given a 14-day ultimatum to the state government on the implementation of the new minimum wage.

Following the expiration of the ultimatum, the workers protested at the governor’s office, Oke-Mosan, in Abeokuta on Tuesday.

While the protest was ongoing, the leaders of the NLC, Trade Union Congress and Joint Negotiating Council went for a closed-door meeting with the government. The meeting later ended at deadlock.

 

Speaking with journalists after the meeting, Mr Bankole said asides minimum wage, they were demanding the abolition of the pension reform bill, the payment of gratuities, payment of outstanding six years leave allowances, three years promotion and 134 months unpaid pension.

“Unfortunately the negotiation ended in a deadlock. And so the one-week warning strike will commence at 12 midnight tomorrow (Wednesday).”

“With the facts before us, Ogun State is not the poorest in the South-West. So, we are saying no, all their excuses are unacceptable to us. The position of the government is unacceptable to us. What they said was that minimum wage will have to be delayed so that they can do certain things and we said no, enough is enough.”

In a swift reaction, the Special Adviser to Governor Dapo Abiodun on Public Affairs, Remmy Hazzan, said the strike is unnecessary.

He said the state has no financial capacity to implement the minimum wage.

In October 2019, the federal government and the labour unions reached an agreement on consequential adjustments in salaries that must be implemented across all boards in line with the new minimum wage law.

Only 17 of the 36 state governments have begun the implementation of the new minimum wage.

They include Borno, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Lagos, Ondo, Sokoto, Yobe and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

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