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Minimum wage:Labour set for war after October 16

By Bukola Olasanmi

The Organised Labour, comprising the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), rose from a crucial meeting with the Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council (JNPSNC-Trade Union Side) warned the Federal Government that it cannot guarantee industrial peace and harmony in the country, if their demands are not met at the close of work on Wednesday, 16th October, 2019.

In a statement released after the meeting on Wednesday evening, the organised labour demanded that the issue of consequential adjustment, which the government is using to delay the commencement of the N30,000 new minimum wage should be concluded within one week.

Besides, the organised Labour insisted on 29% consequential adjustment for workers on Grade Level 07-14; and 24% for workers on Grade Level 15-17; while it rejected the offer of 11% for public workers on salary grade level 07-14 and 6.5% for officers on level 15-17; offered by the government.

The statement was signed by the NLC President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, the TUC President, Comrade Quadri Olaleye, the Acting Chairman, JNPSNC (Trade Union Side), Comrade Simon Anchaver and the JNPSNC, Comrade Alade Bashir Lawal.

The statement said: “The offer by the government for salary adjustment of 11% for public workers on salary grade level 07-14 and 6.5% consequential increase for public workers on grade level 15 – 17 is not acceptable to Nigerian workers.

“We view the position of government as a show of insensitivity to the plight of workers and an attempt to collect with the left hand what government had offered with the right hand.

“We demand the reconvening of the meeting of the committee negotiating the consequential adjustment with a view to concluding the process that started on the 28th of May, 2019 within one week.

“Entering into an agreement with Labour to the effect that salary of officers on grade 07-14 should be reviewed upward by 29% while that of officers on grade level 15-17 should be reviewed upwards by 24%; and Commence immediate implementation of the signed agreement on consequential adjustment of public workers’ salaries with effect from 18th of April 2019 when the new national minimum wage of N30,000 per month was signed into law.”

It added: “In conclusion, the leadership of organised Labour in Nigeria wishes to categorically state that the leadership of Labour cannot guarantee industrial peace and harmony in the country if our demands are not met at the close of work on Wednesday, 16th October 2019.”

The statement further stated that the organised labour has out of its patriotic disposition demonstrated a great deal of restraint, consideration and patience with government.

In the course of negotiations for consequential salary adjustment, it added that the organised Labour had to moderate its initial position of having 66.6% upward salary adjustment for workers on salary grade level 07 – 17 by accepting an upward adjustment of 29% for officers on salary level 07-14 and 24% adjustment for officers on salary grade levels 15 – 17.

It said: “Despite this patriotic gesture, the government has kept insisting that it can only pay 11% for officers on grade level 07-14 and 6.5% consequential wage increase to public workers for officers on level 15-17.”

It explained that since the last national minimum wage of N18,000, workers have been forced to suffer huge inflation and astronomical hike in the prices of essential goods and services.

The statement read: “The country’s currency, the Naira had suffered devaluation from N150 to $1 in 2011 to N360 to $1 in 2019, a depreciation of 140%. Furthermore, petroleum price has been hiked from N87 per litre to N145 per litre which translates to 60% price increase.

“Electricity tariff has been increased by about 60%. Of recent, the Value Added Tax (VAT) has been reviewed from 5% to 7.2%.

“The nonchalant attitude of the government negotiating side has dragged negotiations for consequential wages adjustment unduly. Nigerian workers have exercised tremendous patience and restraint already.”

 

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