Governor Udom Emmanuel

▪NLC, Akwa Ibom state government sign agreement

Abasifreke Effiong

Minimum wage earners in Akwa Ibom state will receive about N33,000 under the new wage agreement signed on Thursday 23rd January 2019, between labour and the state government, Commissioner for Labour and Manpower Planning in the state, Prof. Victor Inoka, has said.

The federal government in April 2019 approved a new national minimum wage of N30,000.

Inoka in a photo interview with The Dune, said Akwa Ibom state government has agreed to pay exactly the same percentages agreed with labour by the federal government, explaining that the state was paying slightly higher than the N18,000 old minimum wage.

“We have agreed to pay exactly the same percentages as the federal government is paying. We agreed on 66 percent increment to workers on level 01 to 06; and the consequential adjustment as agreed by the federal government, we have also agreed.”

“The funny thing is that people don’t realise that we were not paying N18,000 before. Akwa Ibom was paying slightly higher than N18,000, when it was N18,000 minimum wage.

“So, what labour did not explain to people was that once we adopted the federal government percentages, that is the percentage of what was on ground, our own which is the percentage of what we were paying which was almost N19,000; what that translates to is that our minimum wage earner in Akwa Ibom is going to earn up to N33,000. That was why we said labour should have allowed the people to know this. In fact the Governor has exceeded expectation by granting all the percentages offered by the federal government unlike most states.”

Labour, Akwa Ibom state government sign agreement on new minimum wage Prof. Victor Inoka, Commissioner for Labour and Manpower Planning, Akwa Ibom state.

Leadership of Nigeria Labour Congress in the state walked out of the negotiation with the government last week over irreconcilable issues, but the commissioner said all issues were resolved prompting both parties to sign the agreement as witnessed today, Thursday.

READ ALSO : How Governor Emmanuel is ending a decade arrears of gratuities, pensions in Akwa Ibom

Inoka said the parties have also agreed on one month arrears and adoption of the the federal government’s percentage on CONHESS.

“We have also agreed to pay them one month arrears, that is December. Labour has agreed to that and has signed it in the agreement.”

“Maybe labour did not have statistics of what is happening in other states, but today when we presented the statistics, they have seen the magnanimity and broad-mindedness of His Excellency to pay one month arrears. Technically, when you sign an agreement that is when the content takes effect, some states have said they cannot pay arrears, but the governor in his workers-friendly, welfare disposition said, ‘OK’ we will pay one month.”

“On CONHESS, we have adopted the percentages as offered by the federal government in toto. Remember, CONHESS also applies to the federal government. But, we have also agreed that where is peculiarities, we will look at it in subsequent discussions.”

The commissioner insisted that there was no downward disparity between what the state government has agreed to pay and what other core oil producing states are paying as being speculated.

“There is no disparity between what we have agreed to pay and that of other core oil producing states, because we have totally adopted the federal percentage in toto.”

He said workers would have started receiving the new minimum wage this month if salary vouchers were not already prepared.

“The governor wanted the workers to start enjoying the new minimum wage immediately, that is, this month of January, but we’ve just discovered that salary vouchers have been prepared. So, the payment will start next month.”

Labour, Akwa Ibom state government sign agreement on new minimum wage Leaders of government and labour negotiation teams in group photograph after the signing of the new minimum wage agreement on Thursday 23rd January 2020.

Inoka thanked Govenor Udom Emmanuel for again proving his love for the workers of the state, urging civil servants in the state to appreciate the magnanimity of the governor.

“The governor has shown that human resources is more paramount and he has shown that there is no greater sacrifice higher than this. So, I urge Akwa Ibom workers to show sufficient appreciation to the governor.”

The Akwa Ibom state government have started receiving their salary for the month of January.

Meanwhile, the press unit of the office of the secretary to the state government where the signing of the agreement took place reports that representatives of the different labour unions present at the meeting lauded the state government for ‘being sensitive to the plight of workers’.

Those present at the signing of the agreement were, the Chairperson of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Sunny James; the Chairman, Trade Union Congress (TUC), Comrade Dominic Abang; the Chairman, Joint Public Service Negotiating Council, Comrade Tina Essien and her Secretary, Comrade Akamba Awa, and the Chairman, Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Comrade Anestina Iweh.

Others were, the Commissioner for Labour and Manpower Planning, Prof. Victor Inoka; Head of Civil Service, Elder Effiong Essien; Acting Secretary, Nigeria Labour Congress, Comrade Iboro Ibara; Secretary, Trade Union Congress, Comrade Sam Umiom; the Solicitor-General/Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice, Barr. Uduak Eyonsa; Permanent Secretary, Office of the Head of Civil Service, Mrs. Ekaette Ekanem, her counterparts in the Local Government Service Commission, Mrs. Mfonobong Okim, Ministry of Economic Development/Ibom Deep Seaport, Mr. Effiong Ekpenyong, as well as that of the Department of Establishments, Mrs. Beatrice Udoinyang.



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