Some unions under Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, have vowed to begin indefinite industrial action nationwide as the federal governments continued to delay the implementation of the new national minimum wage.
The recent meeting of the technical committee established to work on the adjustment arising from the N30,000 wage ended in a deadlock after it failed to reach an agreement.
Representatives of government and labour refused to shift ground on the percentage adjustments on the salaries of civil servants.
While labour proposed a 30 percent salary increase for officers on levels 7 to 14, the Federal Government wanted nine and a half percent salary increase for them.
And for officers on levels 15 to 17, while labour proposed 25 percent increase, the Federal Government was only ready to offer five percent, insisting that whatever adjustment arrived at, must be in line with the one hundred and sixty-eight billion Naira provided for the adjustment in the 2019 budget.
According to PUNCH, in a statement signed by the Acting Chairman of the Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council, Anchaver Solomon, and the Secretary, Alade Lawal, the council said it had begun the process of mobilising its members nationwide for a showdown with the government.
The statement read, “Operating under the aegis of the Trade Union Side of the Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council, the eight unions in the public service of the federation and 36 states have alerted Nigerians that labour may have to embark on industrial action if the current state of affairs as regards the issue of consequential adjustment arising from the new national minimum wage of N30,000.00 per month remains the same.
“Since the committee set up early this month by the government to work out the consequential adjustments arising from the new national minimum wage of N30,000.00 started to meet, government has been coming up with one strange proposal or the other, all with the intent of scuttling the implementation of the new national minimum wage signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday, April 18, 2019.
“As things are right now, the government’s side is only prepared to pay peanuts to workers as an adjustment under the pretext that it will soon be undertaking general salary review in the public service.”
The statement added, “Labour leaders had initially proposed that since the minimum wage was increased by 66.66 percent, i.e. from N18,000.000 to N30,000.00, salaries for officers on grade levels 01-17 should be adjusted accordingly to maintain the relativity that exists in the salary structure in the public service.
The workers also accused politicians of frustrating their efforts to receive an improved pay package, saying the only way to avoid possible nationwide strike was for the government to be sincere and open in its negotiation.
“This is why the eight trade unions in the public service have resolved that enough is enough and that if the FG fails to caution its officials and direct them to negotiate openly, millions of workers at the federal and 36 states will have no other alternative but to take some necessary trade union actions to seek redress.”