NLC urges calm as workers await implementation of new national wage

Helen Shok Jok, Abuja

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Workers in Nigeria have been urged to remain calm over the delay in the implementation of the new National Minimum Wage of thirty thousand Naira, which has already been signed into law.

President of the Nigeria Labour Congress NLC, Ayuba Wabba made the call in Abuja on Tuesday in an exclusive interview with Voice of Nigeria.

He assured workers that the process of addressing the consequential increase which is presently on going by the Joint Public Service Negotiating Council must take place to arrive at an acceptable wage spread for all categories of workers saying there is no cause for alarm.

Wabba said he is optimistic that there was no foul play in the negotiation process as workers representative in the Committee has not raised any alarm.

“The information I received is that a table was presented and that table was not very favourable.

“They are still on the negotiating table, no body has told us that it has been delayed and the beauty of it is that all of us agreed that the effective date is when the law was accented to” he said.

He said that what was holding the implementation of the new was being worked out to the satisfaction of all but was quick to add that the NLC will not hesitate to intervene if the need arises.

“First is that the law has been passed everybody is aware.

“What is delaying the process now is the core service, because usually the core service will drive the process where the consequential increase from 30, 000 to the other grades will be worked out.

“In this case NLC is not part of the process, because it is a Joint Public Service Negotiating Council.

“So whatever needed to be done, that will be done so that it will get into the pockets of workers” Wabba said.

The NLC President said that the meeting at the federal level does not stop State governments or other employers from implementing the new wage.

According to him, “that does not also prevent other employers of labour to start implementing it, because what Iam referring to is just the one in core civil service.

“In many States, committees have been set, in fact I heard of a State that said it wants to be the first to pay, that is Akwa-Ibom State.

“So these process are going on, but usually the core service, that is the federal government, is expected to drive the process and give a good example.

“That process is on going and in all the history of the minimum wage, that single process must actually go on.

“We are just back from the ILO, my intention is to call our representative that is the leadership of the Joint Council to find out where they are, and if they need our intervention and support we will do that but they have not for now, drawn our attention to the fact that they have any challenge”.

He called on the  media to desist from spreading what he called false information on why the wage is yet to be implemented.

“I’ve seen a lot of false information in the media, but I don’t rely on such false information because we have representative there.

 “If they have any difficulty, am sure they will refer to us, because first, we actually brought about the minimum wage that is organized labour.

 “Therefore the nitty gritty, its like the food is ready, what is remaining is how to serve the food between the lower and the higher person.

“So serving the food through a small committee will not be a difficult thing.

“If they have problem in serving the food, they can come back to us the Principal, we can then know how the food should be served and how to address the difficulty.

“But to allow the food to begin to get cold and waste away, is not something that is desirable.

“So we are following up the process and part of my schedule now that I have returned is to invite them and let me have the details of where we are, because out of the members of the Joint Council, I think almost 90 percent are affiliates of the NLC only one, the Senior Staff Association is with the TUC.

 “So I will call our people to get the details of where we are,  and if we need to intervene to make sure that everything is sorted out, we will intervene”, the NLC President said.

President Muhammadu Buhari  had  on the 18th of April 2019, signed a new National Minimum Wage into law but the implementation is yet to take effect.

Ime Njoku