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Minimum wage: State govts should determine what they can pay – Fayemi

Former Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State state government should determine what they can pay as minimum wage.

Fayemi stated this in an interview of Channels Television’s Politics Today on Friday.

The Federal Government and labour unions have been at the negotiation table over a new minimum wage for months.

While the organized labour insists on N250,000, the federal government is offering N62,000.

But the former minister called for a decentralised minimum wage negotiation, saying that states should determine what they can pay factoring in their peculiarities.

He said, “Every governor has to deal with the issue of national minimum wage. When I was governor and chairman of the governor’s forum;

“…and I believe even till this recent negotiation, is that we should decentralise minimum wage negotiations and allow states to have their own negotiations with their own labor unions whilst the Federal Government conducts its own negotiations because the fingers are not equal.

“This should be decentralised and each state should define in conjunction with their labour unions, with transparency with all the records provided to the labor unions;

“… and say, ‘Look, this is what we have, but you are also only five or 10% of our population. We also have another 90% of the population that we must attend to.”

Fayemi noted that the talk about a new minimum wage is all about dogma, saying a decentralised negotiation does not mean workers in the state will earn less than those at the federal level.

He said, “What we’re dealing with now is dogma. Labour does not want to hear anything about decentralized national minimum wage and decentralised national minimum wage does not mean that what is paid at the level of the state will be lower than the federal.

“In the ’60s and the ’50s, civil servants in the western regions used to earn more than federal civil servants,” he said.

The minimum wage talks have endured for long with reactions from stakeholders in the country.

Recall that the governors insisted earlier that N60,000 offer to labour is unsustainable.

Human rights lawyer Femi Falana said the states and Federal Government can pay the minimum wage if they have political will.

Speaking at a dinner to celebrate Democracy Day on June 12, President Bola Tinubu said the federal government would pay what it can afford.

But the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has maintained it grounds on N250,000 as a new minimum wage.

Tinubu said, “The minimum wage is going to be what Nigerians can afford, what you can afford, and what I can afford. Cut your coat according to your size, if you have size at all.”


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