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Despite paucity of funds, Labour demands review of minimum wage, salaries

By Anthony Otaru, Abuja
18 January 2022   |   4:06 am
Notwithstanding the paucity of funds in government circle, the civil service, yesterday, urged the Federal Government to immediately commence the process of increasing the N30,000 minimum wage and salaries to meet current realities.

[FILES] NLC President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba. Photo: TWITTER/NLCHEADQUARTERS

Notwithstanding the paucity of funds in government circle, the civil service, yesterday, urged the Federal Government to immediately commence the process of increasing the N30,000 minimum wage and salaries to meet current realities.

The workers said the need has arisen now more than ever before following the hike in prices of goods and services nationwide.

They warned government to steer clear of pension contributions to sustain existing cordial ties.

In his message to the 2020/2021 meeting of the Separate and Joint National Public Service Negotiating Councils, yesterday, in Abuja, the National Chairman, Joint Service Negotiation Council, Comrade Benjamin Anthony, submitted that the extant N30,000 minimum wage could no longer take workers home.

Themed “Labour/Government Relations in the Post-COVID-19 era,” the meeting was organised by the Office of the Head of Service (HOS) of the Federation.

He also used the occasion to advise government to immediately commence salary review of civil servants across the federation.

“We are eagerly asking for review of workers’ salaries. We are also asking for a new minimum wage and salary harmonisation. We can no longer fold our arms to see some government agencies and parastatals earn humongous salaries, while the core civil servants get crumbs.”

Also speaking, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, noted: “It is important to see workers and government continue to engage in constant dialogue for peace and harmony to reign more so that a people-centre approach at this time of COVID-19 will translate to development and progress for the nation.”

He, however, said the improvement in civil service welfare could not be compromised, “because they help implement government’s policies and programmes for the overall benefit of the people.”

Wabba added: “We must look and think of how government can build affordable houses for civil servants, provide them with soft loans to own their vehicles, all of these, will further translate to their giving their best to the service.”

“Unions are partners in progress, so they need to be integrated in all government’s reform processes.”

The NLC boss, who deplored the manner some state governments handle civil service gratuities, stressed that gratuities should be prioritised, not minding paucity of funds in government’s coffers.

In her address to the occasion, the HOS, Dr. Folasade Yemi-Esan, listed the various steps the administration had taken to impact the lives of civil servants.

She said: “As part of the administration’s response to mitigate the adverse economic effects of COVID-19, it is worth noting that Mr. President ensured that no civil servant was owed salaries or laid off. Government also took further proactive steps to ensure that work goes on and the welfare of workers is taken care of. This is with particular reference to the approval of the Federal Executive Council of the Policy on Virtual Engagements, payment of backlog of death benefits, provision of 2020 Group Life Assurance [GLA] cover for Federal Government employees and procurement of 2021/2022 cover.”

Declaring the meeting open earlier, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister of State, Dr. Ramatu Tiijani Alliu, said it was gratifying to see the meeting providing a good opportunity for Labour and government to discuss what affects the Nigerian worker.

Alliu, who represented the FCT Minister, Malam Mohammed Musa Bello, used the event to congratulate the frontline health workers who gave their all to the nation during the pandemic, even as she sympathised with those that died in the line of service.