The Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) says the agreement between the federal government and organised labour on the new minimum wage is not binding on state governments.
Kayode Fayemi, governor of Ekiti state who is chairman of the forum, said this on Monday while briefing reporters at the end of a meeting of the 36 governors in Abuja.
After a series of meetings between the federal government and labour leaders last week, there was an agreement on the implementation of the new minimum wage.
Subsequently, the federal executive council (FEC) directed Zainab Ahmed, minister of finance, to effect the payment of N30,000 new minimum wage before December.
FEC further directed the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission and the ministry of labour to send the “consequential adjustments table” to the state and local governments as an advisory document and guidance for their National Joint Public Service status in their respective states.
Chris Ngige, minister of labour, said the council took the decision “because the national minimum wage is a national law.”
But on Monday, Fayemi said the directive applies to federal government workers alone.
“I am sure you know the FEC does not determine what happens in the states, the states have their own states executive councils and that is the highest decision-making body at the state level,” he said.
“The forum (NGF) as the representative body of the states followed what happened in the negotiations that transpired. As far as we are concerned, the best that the forum can do is stick to what has been agreed with states.”
Fayemi said while the state governments have accepted the N30,000 new minimum wage, each will negotiate with its workers on the implementation and the consequential adjustments.
“States were part of the tripartite negotiation and agreed to N30,000 minimum wage. But states also know there will be consequential adjustments. That would be determined by what happened on a state-by-state basis because there are different numbers of workers at the state level, there are different issues at the state level,” he said.
“Every state has its own trade union, with a negotiating committee and they would undertake this discussion with their state government. That is simply what we have said.
“The day after the agreement was reached with labour, I was on record on Channels TV, and I made the position of the states clear that for us, we have always been clear that this was a national minimum wage increase, not a general minimum wage review.
“So to that extent, we do not want the media to confuse issues about a national minimum wage increase. And yes that may necessitate consequential increment and we have no doubt about that. But that is a matter for the states to discuss with their workers.”
”Every state has its own trade union, with a negotiating committee and they would undertake this discussion with their state governments. That is simply what we have said.”