Nigeria: Minimum Wage - FG, Labour Restart Talks

File photo of members of the Nigeria Labour Congress protesting over non-implementation of the new minimum wage in Calabar.
17 October 2019

The federal government and labour unions have reconvened to negotiate over the new minimum wage adjustment.

The meeting which began at 8.24 p.m. was scheduled for 7 p.m. after the Wednesday meeting ended inconclusively after seven hours of intensive deliberation.

PREMIUM TIMES reported how the federal government failed to reach a truce with labour over the new minimum wage, even as the deadline given by workers to down tools passed.

The Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress want the full implementation of the N30,000 new minimum wage and its consequential adjustments.

The government, which approved the new wage before the last elections, has failed so far to implement it.

Last week, labour threatened a nationwide industrial action if the government failed to show commitment to the full implementation of the new wage.

Controversy

The main controversy is the percentage salary increase for certain categories of workers.

Labour is demanding a 29 per cent salary increase for officers on salary level 07 to 14, and 24 per cent adjustment for officers on salary grade level 15 to 17.

But the federal government presented a proposal of 11 per cent salary increase for officers on grade level 07 to14, and 6.5 per cent adjustment for workers of grade level 15 to 17.

Thursday meeting

Speaking during the opening of the programme, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, said both parties were resuming to continue the deliberations on the percentage of the consequential adjustment to be adopted.

He said "the suspense is becoming too much so that the workers will not think they are compromised".

Read also: Bayelsa teachers begin strike over unpaid salary arrears

"It is a collective bargaining and it can take a month or a year, it does not end in a day, we need to end it today," he said.

The NLC also corroborated the minister by saying the three -day meeting will be resolved today.

Minimum Wage

President Muhammadu Buhari signed a new minimum wage bill into law in April 2019. But its implementation has been stalled over disagreements between the unions and government representatives.

The implementation of the new minimum wage has remained a problem, arising from the issue of relativity and consequential adjustments.

On May 14, the federal government inaugurated the relativity and consequential adjustment committee, which set up a technical subcommittee to work out a template for the adjustment of salaries of public service employees.

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