Minimum wage: We’ll negotiate better template for workers – Ondo NLC boss
By Adekola Afolabi
The new Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ondo State Council, Comrade Sunday Adeleye, has assured workers that the labour union would negotiate better template for the payment of the N30, 000 new minimum wage with the state government.
He equally said organised labour is ready to partner and support the state governors and relevant stakeholders to push for the review of revenue allocation coming to states to make it more convenient for them to pay the new minimum wage.
The NLC boss who disclosed this yesterday in an interview with The Hope in Akure, the Ondo state capital, also said his vision as NLC chairman is to leave the union better than he met it and ensure better welfare of workers in the state, both in the public and private sectors.
He explained that not that labour leaders were very happy or comfortable with the N30, 000 new minimum wage but see it as a good step in a right direction.
According to him, It took all the relevant stakeholders almost a year of intensive lobbying and negotiations before they could arrive at the N30, 000 new minimum wage.
He added that labour leaders initially proposed N65, 000 as minimum wage but later agreed on N30, 000 after considering the realities on ground, including the pros and coins.
He believed that all state governments should be able to pay the new minimum wage, just as he advised them to improve on their internally generated revenues of their respective states to further provide more funds for them.
“Not that the NLC is very happy or comfortable with the N30, 000, but sees it as a good step in a right direction. Increasing salaries is not the main thing to workers but managing the economy is of utmost importance.
The NLC boss who explained that the bill to change the revenue formula is an executive bill which can only come from the president, also noted that organised labour is ready to mobilise and partner with relevant government agencies, state governors, local government chairmen, ALGON and others, to push for a change in the revenue formula.
“There is too much money at the centre which gives room for corruption whereas billions of naira would be missing in federal government agencies. But I know no state governor no matter how smart could steal a billion in a month.
“What goes to the federal government is too much, and that is the truth of the matter. How can a tier take over 50% of what comes in while the larger population will be battling with less than 40%. There must be a chance in revenue formula, and the labour is in full support of it.
He particularly expressed joy that Ondo state governor is willing to pay, noting that since government is willing to pay then labour and government can sit down and discuss how to go about it.
The chairman commended the governor for his commitment to better the welfare of workers and the development of the state in general, adding that no labour leader would ask governor to spend all the allocation on the payment of salary alone, leaving other critical sectors behind.
“I’m happy that in the last twenty-six months, the governor has not defaulted for one day. He met six months arrears of salary and pension on ground and he has cleared five months out. When government is doing well you praise them and when they are not doing well you criticize them constructively not destructively.
“So, in terms of salary and other welfare of workers I will give him 100%. You can see what he is doing in the area of infrastructure. Look at his massive road construction, and this is not only happening in Akure, Ondo or Akoko, but across the state and local governments. The only thing we can just pray for is the economy to improve”, he stressed.