After days of intense negotiations, the federal government and the country’s labour unions have reached a deal on the implementation of the new minimum wage.
Disagreement over how the new minimum wage law signed by President Muhammadu Buhari in April would be implemented had lingered for months, with the organised labour threatening to strike.
The Minister for Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, disclosed news of the much-awaited agreement early Friday morning in Abuja shortly after a government team he led concluded a meeting with labour.
The meeting, which began at 8.24 p.m. Thursday, ended at 3 a.m. Friday.
The disagreement had centred around the consequential adjustments in salaries that must be implemented across board in line with the new minimum wage law.
Labour was demanding a 29 per cent salary increase for officers on salary level 07 to 14, and 24 per cent adjustment for officers on salary grade level 15 to 17.
But the federal government offered 11 per cent salary increase for officers on grade level 07 to14, and 6.5 per cent adjustment for workers on grade level 15 to 17.
Speaking after the five-hour meeting, Mr Ngige said the consequential adjustment agreed upon are as follows:
“For COMESS wage structure Grade level 7 gets 23 per cent, Salary grade level 8 gets 20 per cent, Salary grade level 9 gets 19 per cent Salary grade level 10 -14 gets 16 per cent while Salary grade level 15-17 gets 14 per cent, ” he said.
”For those on the second category of wages structure, CONHES, CONRRISE, CONTISS etc, Level 7 gets 22.2 per cent, Level 8-14 gets 16 per cent, Level 15-17 gets 10.5 per cent, ” he added.
Speaking on behalf of the unions, the president of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Ayuba Wabba, said both parties participated in the process and made input.
”We want our workers to be committed and increase productivity. The guideline will be transmitted to all state councils and they will work in harmony as well as TUC and NLC will work together,” he said.
Similarly, the acting Head of Service, Folashade Yemi-Esan, said the outcome of the meeting was fruitful.
”I think it’s a very good thing the labour unions and government can actually sit together in a constructive manner to get an agreement,” she said.
Speaking on the implementation of the consequential allowance in States, Mrs Yemi-Esan said the federal government can only provide a guide to the state governments.
“The federal government cannot tell what happens in a state but work starts immediately to implement the consequential adjustment and arrears will be worked out.”
President Buhari signed the new minimum wage bill into law in April 2019. But its implementation has been stalled over salary adjustments disagreement between the labour unions and government representatives.
Specifically, the problem centred around the issue of relativity and consequential adjustments of salaries for various categories of workers.
On May 14, the federal government inaugurated the relativity and consequential adjustment committee, which set up a technical subcommittee to work out a template for the adjustment of salaries of public service employees in line with the minimum wage law.