Minimum wage: Delta council workers, others to shelve planned strike
By Ajuwa Victor, Asaba
The chairman of the Delta state chapter of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria, ALGON, Itiako Ikpokpo, has explained that the delay in the implementation of the new national minimum wage for local government workers and primary school teachers in the state is caused by the present financial difficulties faced by local governments.
Ikpokpo, in a statement in Asaba noted that payment of primary school teachers and local government workers was constitutionally the responsibility of the local governments and not the Delta state government. He appealed to the workers to shelve the proposed strike as ALGON was working assiduously on how to implement the new minimum wage.
He noted that, while the new minimum wage had been effected for local government workers on Grade Levels one to six, dwindling finances of the councils had hampered its implementation for workers on Salary Grade Levels seven and above.
He observed that the councils were presently faced with acute financial challenges and would not be able to shoulder full implementation of the new minimum wage except they were left with the option to borrow to be able to pay or compelled to retrench staff.
He warned that both options were not in the best interest of the councils, as the governor was against the retrenchment of workers. According to him, the state presidents of NULGE and NUT attended the monthly Joint Account Allocation Committee JAAC meeting and understood perfectly the financial situation of the local governments.
While appreciating the consideration and cooperation of the affected workers on the delay associated with the implementation of the minimum wage, the state ALGON chairman appealed to them to show more understanding by shelving the proposed strike as government was working assiduously on how to find a way out of the pathetic situation.
He assured of the commitment of the councils to ensuring the implementation of the minimum wage across all Grade Levels in the local governments and Local Education Authorities, LEAs in no distant time when the finances of the councils improved.