The Buhari administration will honestly and transparently resolve the request by labour for a salary increase for other levels of workers not affected in the implementation of the new national minimum wage, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said.
Mr Osinbajo stated this Thursday at a meeting with the new leadership of the Trade Union Congress, TUC, who paid him a courtesy visit at the Presidential Villa. The team was led by the new President of the union, Quadri Olaleye. The Labour, Employment & Productivity Minister, Chris Ngige was also at the meeting.
Commending the labour leaders' engagement with the federal government, the VP told the leaders, "your coming today indicates your willingness to work with the government. You should consider the president as someone committed to the welfare of workers. One of the first things he did when we came in was to give states a series of bailouts to help repay backlog of salaries in several states."
The vice president noted that the Buhari administration refused to ignore the situation, and instead provided different facilities including Paris club refunds and budget support loans to provide immediate succour to states.
On the contentious issue of salaries increase being demanded, the VP observed that labour "must find ways to work with a government that is honest and wants to work to resolve the issue transparently."
"Let us give ourselves room to negotiate properly. The president wants an honest, open process, we will be transparent and honest about it. Labour leaders should give us the benefit of the doubt," he said.
Besides, Mr Osinbajo assured the leaders that the federal ministers all have a mandate to ensure job creation opportunities while the government also works on creating an enabling environment for the private sector to create jobs.
In his own contribution at the meeting, Mr Ngige disclosed that the new national minimum wage was already being paid by the federal government, noting that arrears would also be settled. He said the salary increase that labour is now asking for is a "Consequential Adjustment," arising from the implementation of the new minimum wage.
While the new minimum wage covered salary grade levels 6 and below, the adjustment being demanded now is for the salary increase of the other grade levels from 7 above.
Earlier in his remarks, the TUC President called on the federal government to implement the salary increase. He also urged the government to continue to deal with security matters in the country.
The TUC delegation, speaking through the Union President, Olaleye also advised the vice president "to remain focus on your constitutional duties," telling him, "you have achieved more especially with the quarterly business forums you hold and you should not relent. Posterity will judge you fairly."