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The Chairman, Nigeria Labour Congress, Ekiti State Branch, Olatunde Kolapo, has urged the outgoing governor of the state, Dr Kayode Fayemi, to ensure that he extends the minimum wage to higher levels of civil servants not benefitting from it at present before leaving office.
Kolapo said workers in the state were still hopeful of getting part of their outstanding salaries and deductions before the Fayemi administration would hand over to his successor in October.
The state NLC chairman, who spoke in an interview with Saturday PUNCH in Ado Ekiti, said, “Fayemi government started on a very good note with a brilliant promise. During his visit to NLC, he actually promised that he would defray all the arrears of salaries within a year.
“If we want to holistically x-ray him, we discover that there was COVID in 2020 and 2021. One thing I know about Fayemi is that throughout that period, he was transparent to us – what comes in, what goes out and precisely, his second year in office, the minimum wage came in and we set up our committee to do the negotiation.
“So, generally, I will say that Fayemi did not joke with the welfare of workers. He had always said ‘this is what comes in and this is what we can pay’. But our expectation was that all the arrears and deductions by now would have been defrayed.
“However, it was not possible by him. The excuse he keeps giving is that it was due to the COVID and everybody could see. But from the labour side, we have the opinion that even as he is going, even if he cannot achieve all these things, let minimum wage cut across.
“It has got to Level 14 now; it remains levels 15, 16 and 17. I strongly believe he can do this before he leaves office so that the incoming government will now be discussing how implementation will be possible.
“He still has less than a month in office, he is still promising that part of the deductions and part of the arrears would be defrayed and we are still hopeful, mirroring from the fact that the last federal allocation was on the high side than before,” the labour leader said.
Kolapo, however, said NLC had told the Ekiti State governor-elect, Biodun Oyebanji, areas he could better the lots of workers, which was to give them what they deserved and that is their wage.