Organised Labour under the auspices of the Trade Union Side (TUS) of the Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council (JNPSNC), yesterday, warned that it will not give further notice to the Federal Government before calling out its members at the federal and 36 states public services on strike over the non-implementation of the new National Minimum Wage.
In a statement issued in Abuja, the TUS acting Chairman, Anchaver Simon and the Secretary, Alade Bashir Lawal, said it had become imperative to alert the public that all efforts by the unions to persuade government to implement the new N30,000 monthly National Minimum Wage signed into Law by President Muhammadu Buhari on April 18 with appropriate consequential adjustment, had been frustrated.
“The Consequential Adjustment Committee two weeks ago agreed that the proposal of the TUS that salary of officers on grade levels 07-14 should be increased by 29 per cent and those of officers on grade levels 15-17 by 24 per cent vis-a-vis that of government side of 10 per cent for officers on Grade levels 07-14, 5.5 per cent for those on Grade Level 15-17 should be forwarded to President Buhari to see the patriotic position of labour and approved appropriate consequential adjustment accordingly.
“When the meeting reconvened on Monday 16th September, 2019 to get a feedback on the expected approval from Mr. President, government officials brought a fresh proposal of 11 per cent pay rise for officers on Grade Levels 07-14 instead of its earlier position of 10 per cent and 6.5 per cent for those on grade levels 15-17 instead of the former 5.5 per cent.”
The union said what had become clear was that government was not serious about paying millions of workers a new national minimum wage and adequate consequential adjustment but preferred taking the trade unions for a ride.
It stressed that as a responsible union, the TUS had given government enough time to come to term with workers’ demand but it appeared the only language necessary for government to act was a strike.
It recalled that initially, it recommended 66.6 per cent across board to maintain existing relativity in emoluments of public servants, but the government side argued that the wage bill would be too high.
“Consequently, the TUS scaled its demand downward by suggesting that officers on grade levels 07-14 should receive 30 per cent pay rise while those on grade levels 15-17 should get 25 per cent, the government side proposed 9.5 per cent for grade levels 07-14 and 5 per cent for grade levels 15-17.
“Both parties agreed thereafter to forward the two positions to the plenary session of the enlarged Consequential Adjustment Committee for consideration.”
The labour leaders stated that to their surprise, when the Committee reconvened on June 27, the government introduced a strange clause and argued that the term of reference of the panel was to apply the subhead of emoluments contained in the 2019 Budget across board to pay the minimum wage which the TUS objected to.
“It is difficult to understand why the political appointees who cart millions of naira away every month are determined that Nigerian workers must not get N30,000 monthly minimum wage with fair consequential adjustment.
“As we write, Nigeria is rated the poorest country in the whole world and yet Government is refusing to implement a minimum wage for Nigerian workers to lift millions of citizens out of poverty,” the union regretted.
It called on conscientious eminent citizens, royal fathers, religious leaders and civil society groups to plead with the Federal Government to implement the new National Minimum Wage with adequate consequential adjustments to avoid the looming industrial crisis.
The TUS said the Trade Union Congress of Nigerian (TUC) and the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) had been briefed on the breakdown of negotiation in respect of consequential adjustment arising from the new N30,000 monthly National Minimum Wage.