If nothing is done quickly, the delay in the full implementation of the new minimum wage by Federal and states governments may snowball into full blown crisis which will further disrupt the nation’s industrial peace and worsen the economic situation in the country.
Recall that the New Minimum Wage bill was passed by the National Assembly on March 19 and was transmitted to President Muhammadu Buhari on April 2, who on April 18 signed the bill into law, making N30, 000 the benchmark for the least paid worker in Nigeria monthly.
It was heartening on April 19 when the then Special Adviser to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Senator Ita Enang, while breaking the news of the assent to the bill by Mr. President, said the implementation of the new law starts immediately.
Sadly, five months down the line, the enthusiasm that greeted the signing of the bill into law has waned and has been replaced by gloom.
Five months after, the Federal as well as states government have not only failed to begin full implementation of the law but continue to raise one obstacle or another to justify their delay in paying the new minimum wage.
Just recently, the Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council (JNPSNC) called on Nigerians to appeal to the Federal Government to implement the new minimum wage with adequate consequential adjustments to avoid impending industrial crisis.
The body made the appeal following failure to reach an agreement with the government over the mode of implementation.
It said efforts to persuade government to implement the new minimum wage with appropriate consequential adjustment have proved abortive.
The JNPSNC warned that it would give no further notice to the government before public servants at the federal and state levels commence a nationwide general strike over the non-implementation of the new minimum wage.
While lamenting the delay in the full implementation of new minimum wage, the body said government’s foot-dragging is an invitation for industrial action, since workers are already engulfed in fear and agitations whether their accumulated arrears will be paid when talks are finally concluded.
This delay by the federal and states government to begin the full implementation of the new minimum wage is unfortunate.
It speaks volume with respect to the sincerity of federal and states governments in reaching the agreement with the organised labour on the issue.
The delay also highlights the fact that most times, governments in this clime, enter into agreement (s) with labour unions with little or no plan to abide by the terms.
We detest this delay in the implementation of the new minimum wage by federal and states government in the country.
We urge the federal and states governments to quickly begin full payment of the new minimum wage to all categories of workers in their employment.
This will surely avert the looming industrial action by labour and save the nation’s economy from further distortion.