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Governors reject Fed Govt’s wage pact with Labour

The battle over the new minimum wage has shifted to the states following the decision of the governors to allow each state to negotiate percentage increase for their workers.

The negotiation with labour unions in the states will be based on the financial capability of each state.

But the governors agreed to the payment of N30, 000 to the least paid workers. The decisions were taken at Monday’s meeting of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) in Abuja.

The governors declared that they were not bound by the agreement on “consequential increment” between the Federal Government and labour unions.

The Federal Government on October 17 sealed a pact to pay the new minimum wage of N30,000 with increase in salary across all grade levels in the civil service as follows: GL 07(23.2%); GL 08 (20%); GL09 (19%); GL 10-14 (16%); and 15-17 (14%).

The percentage increase is technically called “consequential adjustment.”

The governors rejected the “consequential increment” template of the Federal Government.

A governor at the meeting, who spoke in confidence, said: “What the Federal Government agreed with the labour does not apply to the states. The government at the centre only negotiated with its workers, it is now left to the states to do so.

“The truth is that, consequential increment is not part of the minimum wage policy, it is based on negotiation. The states are at liberty to engage their workers on percentage increase for all levels based on some indices.

“Each state will go and take its decision because fingers are not equal. States do not have equal resources. While some are buoyant, others are insolvent.

“The resources available to each state will determine its percentage increase.”

Another governor said: “Labour knows that the agreement at the federal level is not binding on the states but it can help to guide our decision. We operate a federation and by the spirit of the constitution, states are not expected to subscribe wholesale to the Federal Government’s decision. This is why we have Joint Negotiating Council (JNC) at the state level.

“The negotiating power of each labour group in the state might determine whether or not the workers in such state will get federal structure, a lesser increment or more increment than those at the centre.

“Some of us are hopeful that the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) will also come up with guidelines to assist the states on consequential increment.”

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