Organised labour writes government on Minimum Wage

By Helen Shok Jok, Abuja

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Organised Labour in Nigeria has called on the Nigerian government to as a matter of urgency reconvene the meeting of the Committee on the new National Minimum Wage to avert industrial action.

This was contained in a letter to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustafa by the two labour centres in the country.

The letter was signed by the Presidents of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Ayuba Wabba and Trade Union Congress, TUC, Quadri Olaleye and titled, “Re:Issue of Negotiation of Relativity/ Consequential Adjustment of Salaries Arising from the National Minimum Wage of N30,000.”

They described the stalemate as unfortunate and avoidable, stating that what the government is offering to pay the workers still in contention is far too small to be acceptable.

“We bring to you the warm compliments of the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress as well as wish to refer you to the letter of the Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council dated 16/07/19  and referenced JNPSNC/TUS/VOL.V/402  on the stalemated discussion between the Council and the Government  on the relativity/ consequential adjustment of salaries arising from the national minimum wage of N30,000 per month.

“We would wish to express our concern and dismay about this needless stalemate.”

According to the letter, the option of a staggered implementation of the new wage conveyed in a press statement by the Chairman of the Salaries and Wages Commission is similarly not in good faith and the notion of staggered implementation is both divisive and catastrophic.

The letter reads; “It is important to note that the national minimum wage has always been implemented holistically in acknowledgement of the fact that we all go to the same market.

 “We would wish to commence this letter by first commending Mr President for setting up this committee in which we all had confidence to expeditiously work out the modalities for relativity  and any other consequential effect that may arise from the new national minimum wage.

“Our optimism was hinged on the fact that this would not be the first time we would be having this type of committee…We are  however worried by this stalemate, and must in all honesty, point out that what the government is offering is far too small to be acceptable.” 

“We recall that in the immediate past exercise, 53 per cent relativity was used across board. The resort therefore to unnecessary obduracy by the government’s team is neither helpful nor reflective of precedence.

“In light of this and the need to head off a major  industrial crisis, we would urge you to do all that is necessary to ensure that the  meeting of the Committee is reconvened with  NLC and TUC,” the letter said.