24th June, 2011
The Ondo State Government on Thursday in Akure appealed to its striking workers to return to work, assuring them of its readiness to pay the N18,000 minimum wage.
The Head of Service, Mr. Ajose Kudehinbu, and the Commissioner for Information, Mr. Ranti Akerele, announced the governmentâ€™s decision at a joint news conference.
They, however, said payment of the N18,000 minimum wage would commence as soon as it became feasible because of the huge financial burden it would place on government.
Akerele noted that the state governor had restated it many times that government would pay the N18,000 minimum wage, more so that it was backed by a law.
â€œNo state government has started paying the new minimum wage. We shouldnâ€™t have got to this level, because we made attempts to show the workers the reason why we cannot pay N18,000 now.
â€œFor us to be able to pay, we have to be borrowing additional N522 million monthly to pay the workers. If we must borrow to pay the new wage, how do we continue to run government?
â€œA few days ago, we paid N166 million for our studentsâ€™ NECO exams. Over time, the administration has shown good intentions and maintained good, robust relationship with the workforce.
â€œWe are appealing to them to return to the negotiation table for further discussions to resolve the issue.â€
Kudehinbu also urged the workers to return to work and resume discussions on the negotiation table.
â€œAll they said when we met yesterday was that they were going to seek fresh mandate from their members over the offer from government .
â€œThey never returned to the negotiation table to find accommodation between the current minimum wage and the N18,000 they were asking for.
â€œI appeal to them to return to work and continue negotiations. I am sure that the workers know that this is a workers-friendly government, which has never toyed with any matter affecting their interests and welfare.
â€œIn negotiations, one side cannot be outside, while the other is inside. All the parties must operate on a level playing ground,â€™â€™ he stated.