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Why I approved N70,000 minimum wage for workers, named new labour house after Oshiomhole – Gov Obaseki

Gov. Godwin Obaseki of Edo on Monday, announced an increase in the Minimum Wage for the Edo state civil servants from N40,000 to N70,000 effective from May 1.

Obaseki disclosed this while inaugurating the newly-built ultra-modern Labour House secretariat complex that would house the various labour unions in Benin.

Obaseki named the new Labour House edifice after his predecessor and former NLC President, Sen. Adams Oshiomhole.

Obaseki also promised to further increase the minimum wage to over N70,000, depending on what the Federal Government would approve as the new minimum wage for workers in Nigeria.

He said, “Edo is currently paying the highest minimum wage of N40,000 in Nigeria.

“But we know that even the N40,000 can no longer take workers home because of the poor economic situation being experienced in the country.

“So, as a government, we will continue to support the agitation for increment in workers’ salaries.

“In solidarity with workers, effective from May 1, we have increased Edo workers’ minimum wage from N40,000 to N70,000 and we will move it up further depending on what the Federal government would approve,” he said.

According to Obaseki, “the commissioning of this labour House and the increment in wage are just a token to say thank you to Edo workers for the harmonious industrial relationship my administration has enjoyed in the last seven and half years.

“The achievements we have recorded in the last seven and half years would not have been possible if not for the cordial relationship with the various labour unions in the state.

“The reforms and projects we have carried out in our various institutions were targeted at improving the productivity of our workers in the state,” he added.

He urged the state labour unions to use the revenue that would be generated from the building for its maintenance.

The keynote speaker, Comrade Joe Ajaero, President, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), commended Gov. Obaseki for the increment in minimum wage in the state.

Ajaero said, “NLC and the federal government have not agreed on what should be the new minimum wage for workers, but Edo has taken the lead. It shows that the governor is labour friendly and has empathy for workers,”.

In his lecture titled, “Leveraging the legacies of Pa. Michael Imoudu as a way of fostering harmonious and productive industrial relations, Ajaero said Edo has about the best workforce environment in any public service in the country.

The NLC president, while speaking on the legacies of the late Pa Michael Imoudu, noted that the first labour unionist in the country engaged the colonialists for the betterment of the Nigeria workers.

He explained that he was attacked, harassed, suffered humiliations and was imprisoned by the colonial masters for workers in the country to have better welfare.

Also speaking, President of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Comrade Festus Osifo, appreciated Gov. Obaseki for all the labour friendly policies and reforms being embarked upon by his administration.

“I can tell you that there are some states in Nigeria whose governors still pay N18,000 minimum wage. They even pay in percentages and determine who to pay and who not to pay. So, Edo has gone ahead with this increment,” he said.

Osifo, who stated that he was proud to be from Edo, thanked the governor for rising above political sentiments and naming the new labour House after Oshiomhole.

Also, the State Head of Service, Anthony Okungbowa, disclosed that the idea of building a labour House to accommodate organised labour in Edo was conceived by former Oshiomhole in 2014.

Okungbowa said, “in view of this vision, Obaseki worked assiduously to make the dream a reality by committing scarce resources, time and efforts into the construction of the ultra modern and state of the art labour House complex.

“The edifice is a masterpiece designed to enable organised labour operate in a conducive atmosphere and engage government constructively in the interest of the workforce,” Okungbowa said.

Earlier in his welcome address, the State Chairman of Edo NLC, Comrade Odion Olaye, thanked the governor for the kind gesture and magnanimity, adding that workers had long waited for inauguration of the project.

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