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Industrial action looms in Kano as NLC writes Ganduje over minimum wage payment

The Kano State government and organised labour- Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) are headed for a clash that could snowball into a full blown industrial action this new year following the suspension of payment of the national minimum wage by the Governor Abdullahi Ganduje-led administration.

In the build-up to the looming industrial unrest in the state, the NLC has written a letter to Governor Ganduje, rejecting the suspension of the payment of the minimum wage/consequential adjustment and calling for an immediate resumption of payment of all arrears.

Governor Ganduje last week announced Kano could no longer pay the N30,000 minimum wage, citing economy recession occasioned by Covid-19, which he said has impacted the finances of the state.

But in the letter to the governor signed by Ayuba Wabba, president of the NLC, labour warned of the consequences of reneging on the payment of the minimum wage, saying it is a law which the governor is obliged to obey.

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“Your administration suddenly stopped paying workers the new national minimum wage which your state was lauded as one of the first to comply with the provisions of the National Minimum Wage Act. Second, your administration has reneged on the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) you reached with workers on the payment of consequential salary adjustment based on the new national minimum wage.

The claims that the reasons for this sudden volte-face include the economic crunch occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic loads this debilitating punch thrown at poor workers with quantum ferocity. Your Excellency, as an expert in our laws, you know quite well that no one in our country has the privilege of cherry-picking which aspect of our laws to obey. The National Minimum Wage Act is a law which must be obeyed by every employer in Nigeria. It is not negotiable. The refusal by any employer to pay the N30,000 new national minimum wage is tantamount to willful violation of our laws. Persistence in doing so can only be described as a dangerous stroll in “anarchy” boulevard.

“We demand that the cuts in salaries paid to Kano State workers be stopped forthwith and the shortfalls reimbursed immediately. We also demand that the Kano State government goes back to the lawful discharge of its obligation to pay the New National Minimum Wage of N30,000. The consequential adjustment is a product of collective bargaining which the Kano State government is duty-bound to honour.

While we look forward to your immediate intervention to stave off a looming but unnecessary industrial unrest in Kano State, please accept the renewed assurances of our highest esteem,” the NLC warned in the letter.

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