Ondo State chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on Wednesday urged the organised labour not to sign any new minimum wage agreement that will lead to retrenchment of the workforce.
The state NLC Chairman, Sunday Adeleye-Oluwole, gave the advice during an interview with reporters.
He explained that negotiation over the new minimum wage, which had hitherto been suspended, has now resumed and it is 85 percent concluded.
“The process may be concluded before the end of this week,” he said.
“My advice to JNC, as NLC leader, is that it should not sign what can lead to retrenchment of our members, because I don’t have the final position; it’s JNC that has the final position on the new minimum wage,” he said.
According to him, the delay in minimum wage approval and implementation in the state is due to the insistence of the organised labour, led by JNC, NLC and TUC, to get better package for the workers and pensioners.
The NLC chairman noted that the new salary tables presented by the state government were being critically studied to ensure that the agreed new salaries would be sustainable and not lead to irregular payment and mass retrenchment.
Adeleye-Oluwole assured that the new minimum wage would capture special allowances for the media, judiciary, parliamentary and health workers.
He appealed to the state workforce to exercise more patience, as negotiation was now at a final stage.
“The negotiation is not led by NLC but by the Joint Negotiating Council (NJC) as directed by the national headquarters of NLC and TUC.
“We are just supporting the JNC, and that was what we had been doing. I want to say that in the last two months, the JNC, in its wisdom, had set up negotiation committee and ever since then, we have met more than seven times.
“So, JNC has the final say concerning this minimum wage issue. But as at now, going by what happened yesterday (Tuesday), we have got to 85 percent completion.
“Also, pensioners are being carried along, because we believe that all of us will become pensioners one day.
“From what I have been following, I can say that before this week runs out, we should be able to come out with specific tables and we are working on five different tables for the judiciary, the parliament and media workers.
“For our counterparts in the health sector and the services, they have their own peculiar allowances. So we are working now on five structures, and when we include pensioners, it becomes six.
“In the spirit of negotiation, what we really need is to know the data; how much is coming from Ondo State, which we have got, and we also look at the present salary wage bill,” he said.
On payment of arrears to workers by the state government, the NLC chairman explained that it would be discussed after the conclusion of the minimum wage negotiation.