A 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, Alade Lawal, told reporters yesterday that organized labor 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 Labor unions. Nigerians will be adequately briefed of our next line of action very shortly, he said.
Chairman of the Labor team, Simon Anchaver, said the labor negotiating team had also resolved to write to the Nigeria Labor Congress and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) to seek their advice to consider industrial action. He said government’s foot-dragging was an invitation for industrial action since workers were already engulfed in fear; whether their accumulated arrears would be paid after the talks.
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 labor last month, the former proposed a 10% increment for Level seven to 14 and a 5.5% 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 labor unions. Egbule explained that the current demand of the labor unions would raise the total wage bill too high, hence the government could not accept their proposed salary adjustments.
But labor turned down government’s offer, proposing a 30% increase for levels seven to 14 and 25% 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%, they wanted 66% increment across the board for all workers.