Labour, FG meeting on new wage implementation deadlocked again

Meeting of the Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council (JNPSNC) and the Federal Government deadlocked again yesterday, as they failed to agree over relativity and consequential adjustment for the implementation of the new minimum wage.

JNPSNC general secretary of the Trade Union Side, Mr. Alade Lawal, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) yesterday that the organised labour would decide on the next line of action on the issue of the minimum wage.

“The meeting is deadlocked. We found out that the Federal Government officials are not serious about it at all. We are suspecting foul play or a hidden agenda somewhere.

“We have decided to report the development to our principals, including the Labour unions. Nigerians will be adequately briefed of our next line of action very shortly, he said.

Chairman of the Labour team, Mr. Simon Anchaver, said labour negotiating team had also resolved to write to the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) on their advise to consider industrial action.

He said government’s foot-dragging was an invitation for industrial action since workers were already engulfed in fear of whether their accumulated arrears would be paid after the talks.

NAN reports that the Head of Service, Winifred Oyo-Ita, chaired the meeting, and the acting chairman, National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission, was the secretary of the negotiating council.

The new minimum wage bill was signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari in April.

However, deliberations continued as the issue of relativity/consequential adjustment of salaries persisted.

The Federal Government had on May 14 inaugurated the Relativity/Consequential Adjustment Committee, which in turn set up a technical sub-committee to work out the template for the adjustment of salaries of public service employees.

In a meeting between the government and labour last month, the former proposed a 10 per cent increment for Level seven to 14 and a 5.5 per cent increment for level 15 to 17.

The immediate past chairman, National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission, Richard Egbule, had attributed the delay in the implementation of the “consequential adjustment” of the N30,000 new minimum wage to the unrealistic demands of labour unions.

Egbule explained that the current demand of the labour unions would raise the total wage bill too high, hence the government could not accept their proposed salary adjustments.

But labour turned down government’s offer, proposing a 30 per cent increase for levels seven to 14 and 25 per cent for levels 15 to 17.

The JNPSNC declined the offer, saying that since the increase in wage from N18,000 to N30, 000 was 66 per cent, they wanted 66 per cent increment across the board for all workers.

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