The final decision on the consequential adjustment of the minimum wage has been passed to President Muhammadu Buhari.
This follows the inability of labour and government teams to agree on the figures for the adjustment.
The President of Nigeria Civil Service Union (NSCU), Lawrence Amaechi told The Guardian in Abuja, yesterday, that while the labour team insisted on 29 percent increment for workers on levels seven to 14, and 24 percent for levels 15, 16 and 17, the government team held on to 10 percent increment for levels seven to 14 and 5.5 percent for levels 15, 16 and 17.
He added that both teams were unyielding in their positions, hence the decision to send both positions to Buhari for final adjudication.
When reminded that Buhari’s directive to ministers to pass all memos and personal needs through the Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari could frustrate the President’s intervention, Amaechi insisted that organised labour would find a way to secure the President’s mediation.
Amaechi hinted that the meeting eventually rescheduled for September 4, 2019 to allow for presidential intervention.
Amaechi said that workers in public service were expecting government to finally agree with them on reasonable adjustments to their salaries to effect immediate implementation of the minimum wage.
Amaechi, who said that payment of the new minimum wage was long overdue, advised government to be proactive not to accumulate arrears that may create another round of agitation by employees.
He said although the two labour unions- the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) are not part of the eight unions that make up the JNPSNC, their representatives have been invited as observers in case of breakdown of talks.
The Permanent Secretary, General Services, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Olusegun Adeyemi Adekunle, presided over the meeting, which was attended by the former executive chairman, Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission, Richard Egbule, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Employment, William Alo, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, and some executive members of the unions.
The Federal Government had on May 14 inaugurated theRelativity/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.
At a meeting between the government and labour last month, government proposed a 10 percent increment for level seven to 14 and a 5.5 per cent increment for level 15 to 17.
Egbule, the immediate past Chairman, National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission, 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 of the Federal Government too high and that was why government could not accept their proposed salary adjustments.
But labour turned down government’s offer, proposing a 30 per cent increase for levels 7 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 and that they wanted 66 per cent increment across board for all their members.