Nigeria: Minimum Wage - Ngige, SGF to Meet Buhari On Fresh Deal

Photo: Vanguard
(file photo)
3 September 2019

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha may meet with President Muhammadu Buhari this week to seek his consent on a new proposal to end the minimum wage stalemate.

THISDAY gathered that the government's negotiating team and the Joint Public Sector Unions are presently considering a compromise deal of 25 per cent increase for workers on grade levels 2-7 and 10 per cent for those between 8 and 17.

The federal government's committee on the Consequential Adjustment for the minimum wage had met on several occasions with the Joint Public Sector Unions without agreeing on the template to be applied for the payment of the new wage increase across board.

The federal government's negotiating team had first proposed a consequential adjustment of 9.5 per cent for workers on grade levels 7-14 and 4.5 per cent increase for those on 15 -17 grade levels but labour vehemently rejected the proposal.

In rejecting the proposal, it said that it would translate to peanuts and will not make any appreciable impact on the lives of workers.

After several frustrating meetings to strike a deal, the public sector and the government's representatives resolved to take a break to allow both sides to go and consult on a possible compromise deal that will end the negotiations.

A competent source informed THISDAY yesterday that the federal government's negotiating team has come up with a new proposal which they hope to present to President Buhari to help resolve the dispute over the N30,000 new minimum wage.

"The federal government's team on the minimum wage committee had proposed a 25 per cent upward adjustment for workers on grade levels 2-7 and 10 per cent for workers on 8-17

"This followed several failed attempts by the union and the federal government team to reach an agreement over the payment of the new minimum wage," said the source.

The source who said he was privy to the latest proposal being considered by the committee, told THISDAY that the new template, if approved by President Buhari, will help resolve the disagreement and bring to an end the protracted deadlock over modalities for kick-starting the payment of the N30,000.

When contacted over its position on the protracted minimum wage negotiation, the Nigeria Labour Congress ( NLC) said that it expected the federal government to resolve the matter without further delays.

The General Secretary of NLC, Emma Ugboaja told THISDAY that most private sector workers have no issue with the new minimum wage since they are already earning above the amount.

Ugboaja blamed the difficulty being experienced in arriving at acceptable template for public sector workers on the government's inability to maintain a system that ensures regular consultation with the unions on welfare issues.

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