Labour unions in Enugu State have charged the state government to be prepared to adopt the N30,000 minimum wage proposed by organised labour.
The labour unions comprising the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), United Labour Congress (ULC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) made the call on Tuesday during a mobilization rally in Enugu.
The Chairman of the NLC in the state, Mr Virginus Nwobodo said that workers in the state would no longer accept a pay chart other than that centrally prepared for a minimum wage.
Nwobodo said that the implementation of the 2011 minimum wage in the state was a far cry from what was done in other states, adding that workers in the state were the least paid in the country.
“What the then administration in the state did was to award either N5,000 or N10, 000 to workers depending on your grade level and we have lived with it till today.
“We believe the current administration will follow the original chart that will be produced at the end of the ongoing negotiation, thereby, removing the contours that have formed on the faces of workers in the state,” he said.
The labour leader said that workers in the state had been fully mobilised to shut down the state if the government failed to respond to the demands of labour before Nov. 6.
“This rally serves as a notice for all workers in the state to get prepared for the coming strike. There is going to be a total shut down of labour related activities in the state.
“We will not allow any form of activity on the roads except for law enforcement agencies that may be on duty.
“Therefore, residents of the state should be fully prepared and should get enough food items that will last them throughout the duration of the strike,” he said.
Nwobodo wondered why state governors live flamboyant lifestyles but toy with the welfare of the workforce.
He said that the governors paid members of their cabinet and move around with a long motorcade but pay lip service to the condition of workers.
Mr Ben Asogwa, state secretary of TUC said it was sad that workers in the state lived from hand to mouth.
Asogwa said that the current situation could be traced back to the early period of implementation of the current minimum wage in the state.
“The previous government forced the current pay chart on us but we now have a government that listens.
“The governor has accepted to pay with the chart that will be prepared at the end of the ongoing negotiation at the federal level,” he said.
Asogwa also said that with the improvement on the internally generated revenue of the state, there would not be any excuse for the state government not to comply.
He said that organised labour had tried its best in fighting for the welfare of workers, adding that the current salary paid to workers in the state was unfair.
“This is the best time to correct the anomaly associated with payment of salaries in the state. We decided to wait till this time because of the recession that hit the country,” Asogwa said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that a grade level eight officer in the state ministry receives between N24, 500 and N29,000 while a grade level nine officer is paid between N31, 000 and N34,000 depending on the steps.
A director on level 16 in the state civil service goes home with less than N90, 000 as monthly salary.