10 states yet to resist the minimum wage

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Two(2) years after the new minimum wage was approve by the Federal Government, 10 states are yet to implement it, the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) has said.

They are Imo, Benue, Anambra, Kano, Bauchi, Kebbi, Kogi, Nasarawa, Taraba and Zamfara.

The union has pledged to resist the non-payment of gratuity to workers, noting that the 2014 Pension Amendment Act did not stop gratuity payment.

At a briefing in Lagos, its President, Comrade Tommy Etim Okon, said Anambra and Taraba had concluded negotiations, but were yet to implement it.

He said Bauchi, Benue, Kebbi, Kogi, Nasarawa and Zamfara were still negotiating, while Imo was yet to do so.

He commended the states that had concluded negotiations and implemented the wage, noting that not only had Kano State not commenced negotiation, it had also reduced workers’ salary.

Okon said it was illegal for any government to reduce or contemplate not paying salary that had been passed into law.

He said labour had exhausted the mechanisms in industrial relations and collective bargaining and would clamp down on recalcitrant states.

He condemned the unilateral step taken by the Ekiti State Government to slash workers’ salary without consultation with organised labour.

“Minimum wage is a law, hence, there’s no way we can negotiate with any governor to slash salary. The act by Ekiti State Governor is lawlessness and we are not going to accept it. We will soon launch out; already we are doing our due diligence on whatever reasons he had adduced and we can prove that there is no truth to it,” he said.

On the non-payment of gratuity, Okon said gratuity was a portion of the percentage of the amount given to an employee after a period of service and that pension was tied to gratuity. But, regretably, many workers do not know it.

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He said: “The government no longer pays gratuity. It is an issue we must fight and get. If they want to amend the 2014 Pension Act, it should be amended with the line of knowledge we have. We are calling for the amendment of the act. We are no longer safe; we are challenging the government with it.

“In this regard, we have advised our members to keep their records intact right from the day they joined service. It must be provided and if we get it right, we can fight with it.”

He lamented that even the so-called pension was not being paid to workers as expected, lamenting that most workers, after retirement, die prematurely as they have nothing to fall back on.

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