Minimum wage stalemate: Civil servants set for strike

... Accuse govt of frustrating implementation

Workers in the public service, both in the government Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) are set for a nationwide strike over the long delay in the implementation of the N30,000 new national minimum wage, the Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council (JNPSNC) Trade Union Side (TUS), declared on Tuesday.

The Council, which comprises all the trade unions in the public service said there is a looming crisis in the public service as a result of deliberate delay in the implementation of the new minimum wage signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari on 18th April 2019.

In a statement issued in Abuja on Tuesday, the Trade Union Side (TUS) of the Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council (JNPSNC), warned that it would not give further notice to the Federal Government “before millions of its members at the Federal and 36 States Public Services commence strike over the non-implementation of the new National Minimum Wage and appropriate consequential adjustment.”

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Signed by the Council Acting Chairman, Comrade Anchaver Simon, and the Secretary, Comrade Alade Bashir Lawal, the statement noted that it had become imperative to alert the general public that all efforts by the trade unions to persuade the government to implement the new N30,000 monthly national minimum wage with appropriate consequential adjustment, had been frustrated  by Government Side.

The statement said: “The Consequential Adjustment Committee two weeks ago agreed that the proposal of the TUS that salary of officers on grade levels 07-14 should be increased by 29% and those of officers on grade levels 15-17 by 24% vis-a-vis that of Government Side of 10% for officers on Grade levels 07-14, 5.5% for those on Grade Level 15-17 should be forwarded to President Buhari to see the patriotic position of labour and approved appropriate consequential adjustment accordingly.

“When the meeting reconvened on Monday 16th September, 2019 to get a feedback on the expected approval from Mr. President, the Government Officials brought a fresh proposal of 11% pay rise for officers on Grade Levels 07-14 instead of its earlier position of 10% and 6.5% for those on grade levels 15-17 instead of the former 5.5%,”

The Council stated that it had become clear that the Government Side was not serious about paying millions of workers the new wage and adequate consequential adjustment but preferred taking the unions for a ride.

It stressed that as a responsible people the council had given the Government enough time to come to term with workers’ demand but it appeared that the only language necessary for Government to act is by strike action.

The Union recalled that initially, it recommended 66.6% across board so as to maintain existing relativity in emoluments of Public Servants, but the Government side argued that the Wage Bill would be too high.

“Consequently, the TUS scaled its demand downward by suggesting that officers on grade levels 07-14 should receive 30% pay rise while those on grade levels 15-17 should get 25%, the Government Side proposed 9.5% for grade levels 07-14 and 5% for grade levels 15-17.

“Both parties agreed thereafter to forward the two positions to the plenary session of the enlarged Consequential Adjustment Committee for consideration,” the statement said.

It read: “To our surprise, when the Committee reconvened on 27th June 2019, the Government Side introduced a strange clause and argued that the Term of Reference of the Panel was to apply the subhead of emoluments contained in the 2019 Budget across the board to pay the minimum wage which the TUS objected to.

“It is difficult to understand why the political appointees who cart millions of naira away every month are determined that Nigerian workers must not get N30,000 monthly minimum wage with fair consequential adjustment.

“As we write, Nigeria is rated the poorest country in the whole world and yet Government is refusing to implement a minimum wage for Nigerian workers to lift millions of citizens out of poverty,” the Union regretted.”

It called on conscientious eminent citizens, royal fathers, religious leaders, and civil society groups to plead with the Federal Government to implement the new National Minimum Wage with adequate consequential adjustments to avoid the looming industrial crisis.

​Meanwhile, the TUS stated that the Trade Union Congress of Nigerian (TUC) and the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) had been briefed on the breakdown of negotiation in respect of consequential adjustment arising from the new N30,000 monthly National Minimum Wage.

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