James Ojo, Abuja
The leadership of organised labour last night issued a categorical statement that there will be no guarantee of industrial peace after the close of work on Wednesday October 16 if the issue of consequential adjustment of the minimum wage is not resolved.
At s meeting of the National Executives of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC), it was resolved to reject the offer made by government on the consequential adjustment for workers on salaries 07 and above.
The decision was taken after hours of deliberating the reports of the Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council (JNPSNC) to the negotiation table with the Federal Government team on the consequential adjustment of the minimum wage for workers on salary scale Level 07 upward.
There had been a deadlock on thepercentage of increase for workers on Levels 07 to 14 and those from Levels 15 to 17.
Government has refused to shift ground on the offer to pay 11% for Levels 07 to 14 and 6.5% to Levels 14 to 17, while Labour reviewed its earlier position of 66.6% downward to 29% increase for Level 07 to 14 and 24% for Levels 15 to 17.
After receiving briefing from JNPSNC and the way forward, Labour concluded that it demonstrated enough understanding and patriotism be accepting to shift positions, but lamenting that Government had not reciprocated.
“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, organized 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 level 15 – 17.
“Despite this patriotic gesture, 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;
“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 following examples would suffice;
“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 liter to N145 per liter, 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%,” Labour leaders observed.
The unions accused government of showing nonchalant attitude by dragging negotiations for consequential wages adjustment unduly, and thus exhausting the patience of workers.
“At the end of our deliberation, the leadership of organized labour in Nigeria resolved as follows: -The offer by 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.”