Governor of Kwara State, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has told agitated Labour leaders in the state that his doors are still open for further negotiations on the issue of minimum wage.
Organised Labour in the state began an indefinite strike yesterday with virtually all ministries and offices locked and workers cooling off at home.
The Ravens reported that the strike was embarked upon as a result of disagreements over the implementation of the new minimum wage law in the Northcentral state.
Speaking on the matter yesterday, AbdulRazaq called for labour’s understanding and urged them to take advantage of the government’s transparency and good faith in its dealing with the workers even during the recent lockdown.
“Negotiation is an ongoing thing. No door is shut for negotiation. We can always talk with one another,” he said.
The governor, who spoke during his visit to the dilapidated Banni Community Secondary School in Ilorin, noted that the purse of the government is too lean to grant labour’s request now.
In his words, “If we accede to the request of the labour, we will not be able to do any other thing other than paying workers. Our schools have collapsed; the basic health facilities need to be fixed; and we need to do much more for the rest of the population too.
“We want to pay the minimum wage. Where we disagree with the labour is consequential adjustment that they are asking for. It will mean we cannot do any other thing outside salary payment.
“As you can see we are having issues with the labour unions in the state. Yes, we’re not saying that we will not pay the minimum wage but (we can only pay) on the scale that is affordable. You can imagine a situation where local governments are earning N2.6bn a month and the salaries are almost exactly the same when you add their other expenses. The unions want an increase (of that) to N3bn. That is N400m per month increase, from where will the local governments get that? So, the consequential increase should not be that much. That’s not affordable because we have to renovate schools, hospitals, road infrastructure, and we are not going to spend 100% of our income on payment of salaries.”