Minimum wage: FG, Labour agree on consequential adjustments

Hudu Yakubu, Abuja 

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The Federal government of Nigeria and labour unions in the country have finally agreed on the percentage increase over the consequential adjustment and implementation of the new National Minimum Wage of thirty thousand naira.

The Organised labour arrived venue of the negotiations with government delegations in Abuja at exactly 7pm on Thursday while the Minister of Labour and Employment Chris Ngige who is chairing the session had arrived much earlier.

The meeting which was scheduled for 7pm started around 8:30pm with both parties involved present at the meeting.

Briefing Journalists at the end of the meeting, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige revealed that the negotiations was reached between labour and government in the spirit of collective bargaining.

The Minister disclosed that so far government had up their game by offering the workers 23. 2 percent for grade level 07, 20 percent for workers on grade level 8, 19 percent for workers on grade level 9.

He added that, for those on grade levels 10 to 14, government agreed to pay 16 percent and 14 percent for workers on grade levels 15 to 17.

“Fllowing the threat by the organised labour not to quarantee industrial peace after Wednesday, October 16,2019, as a result of the deadlock in the ongoing negotiation on the Consequential Adjustment of emoluments in Federal Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies arising from the New National Minimum wage of thirty thousand naira (30,000.00) as imbued in the National Minimum wage Act. 2019, the Honorable Minister of Labour and Employment in exercise of his powers under the trade dispute Act, CAP T8.  

“Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004, apprehended the trade dispute and called the parties to conciliation meetings. He met each of the JNPSNC separately on Wednesday, 9th October and Monday 15th October, 2019, thereafter, joint meetings were held on 16th, 17th and 18th of October 2019, after the following terms of settlement and agreement pertaining to the Minimum wage Consequential adjustment in the Public Service were reached,” Ngige explained.

The Minister further gave the consequential adjustment or increase as follows:

Group 1 ( CONPSS) : GL 07=23.2 percent, GL 08 = 20 percent, GL 09 = 19 percent, GL 10 – 14 = 16 percent,  GL 15 – 17 = 14 percent.

Group 2 ( CONHESS, CONRAISS, CONTISS ll,  CONMESS,  CONTEDISS:  GL 7 and equivalent = 23.2 percent,  GL 8 – 14 and equivalent = 16 percent and GL 15/17 and equivalent = 10.5 percent.

The Minister who said the implementation is with immediate effect, called on all the Ministries, Departments and Agencies to commence implementation of the New National minimum wage with the agreement reached with the organised labour.

Commenting on the salary arrears following the President directive that the implementation should commence 18th of April 2019  the Acting Head of Civil Service of the Federation Dr Folasade Yemi – Esan explained that government will take time to notice the sum and continue the process of payment.

She solicited the support and cooperation of all workers to see the gesture as an avenue that would enable them increase productivity in their various places of work and boost the nation’s economy for development of the country.

The President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC,  Comrade Ayuba Wabba expressed delight that the issue of the new National minimum wage and it consequential adjustment have finally come to an end.

He noted when agreements fully implemented, it will further cushion the economy hardship faced by the workers across the country.

Wabba added that the union would further monitor the implementationborocess in all the thirty six states of the federation to ensure full compliance by the state government.

The delegations of the organised labour on the negotiations on the day 3 was headed by NLC President Comrade Ayuba Wabba, TUC General Secretary Comrade Musa Lawal, the chairman of the Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council (JNPSNC) Simon Anchaver,  Secretary of the JNPSNC Comrade Alade Bashir Lawal.

On the government side, the delegation was headed by the Acting Head of Service of the Federation Folashade Yemi – Esan, Minister of Labour and Employment State Festus Keyamo, Permanent Secretary of ministry of Labour and Employment,  William Alo and the Acting Head of the National Salaries Income and Wages Commission Mr Ekpo Nta.

It would be recalled that, the Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has in April this year signed into law the new National Minimum wage Act 2019 of N30.000. With this agreement, the controversy about the minimum wage will be put to rest. 17th October, 2019.

Meanwhile, the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, has commended the Federal Government and organised labour for their patience while the National Minimum Wage negotiations lasted.

The leadership of the Labour Centre added that although it was a rough road but they are happy that an agreement has finally been signed.

In a press statement, signed by the TUC President, Comrade Quadri Olaleye and Secretary General, Comrade Musa-Lawal Ozigi, said it was not an easy journey adding that government’s team should be appreciated for their wisdom and sincerity.

“We commend the Head of Service of the federation, Dr. Folashade  Yemi-Esan and her team for their sincerity. Though they argued that government cannot afford to meet our earlier demand of N30, 000 minimum wage across board because of the economic situation in the country, but we made them understand that some people cannot be more Nigerian than others. If we are tightening our belts, government should also do so.”

“As an organization and a major stakeholder in the Nigerian project we believe that the parties have done well. We shifted grounds and that is why we were able to resolve things without major injuries. It is a win win situation,” they added.

The TUC boss said he is particularly happy with the agreement because it addressed some salary discrepancies and overlapping that the workers have agitated so much about.

“This is a unique agreement and we promise to build on that by God’s grace,” he stated.

Peace PIAK