Enugu State Commissioner for Labour and Productivity, Chief Charlse Asogwa, says the state will be among the first to implement the New National Minimum Wage as signed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
This is even as the state chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) says it will no longer accept any compromised salary structure detrimental to the state workforce.
Asogwa disclosed this on Thursday in Enugu during the State Delegates’ Conference of the NLC.
The commissioner said that the state government was awaiting the drop-down of the modalities for implementation which included the payment table.
“We are aware that President Muhammadu Buhari has signed the New National Minimum Wage Law and Enugu State will be among the first to implement it.
“We are waiting for the modalities of the payment to come down,” he said.
Asogwa commended members of the congress for the conviviality between them and the state government.
He said that the prevailing circumstance was instrumental to the excellent performance of the state government, adding, “peace and harmony bring progress”.
Asogwa said that the state government would continue to make payment of salaries first charge, while continuing in its drive to offset arrears of pension and gratuities owed retirees.
Earlier in an address of welcome, the Chairman of the state chapter of the NLC, Mr Virginus Nwobodo, said the congress would map out strategies for negotiation of the new wage at the state level.
Nwobodo said that they were ready to correct the anomalies of the past in order for workers in the state to earn what their peers in others states were paid.
“What happened in the past will not happen again. We want to correct the anomalies in the former salary structure for our workers to enjoy what others are enjoying,” he said.
The chairman said that the last four years had been demanding, adding that they appreciated their veterans for their show of leadership.
He commended the state government for its prompt payment of salaries to workers.
He, however, called on the state government to intervene in the predicament of retired primary school teachers.
Nwobodo said that it had become imperative to create a special pensions board for the retired teachers as the Local Government Pensions Board was dysfunctional.
“The state government needs to make money available to manage the affairs of the retirees as they are suffering much,” he said.
Nwobodo also appealed to the government to approve the enrollment of state government workers into the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that some workers interviewed during the conference, said that although their salaries were paid promptly but it is a far cry from what other state governments pay their workers.
The workers, who spoke anonymously appealed to the incoming leadership of the state chapter of the NLC not to sell their conscience and continually impoverish workers while interfacing with the state government on the new wage law.