NECA urges labour to shelve strike over implementation of minimum wage
Speaking when he visited the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige in Abuja yesterday, Director General of NECA, Timothy Olawale, said labour unions should approach the National Industrial Court (NJC) for adjudication rather than plunge the nation into another economic crisis through industrial action.
Speaking, Ngige traced the impasse over consequential adjustment of the national minimum wage for grade levels seven to 17 to labour’s wrong interpretation of the increase, which interprets national minimum wage to mean total review.
He argued that consequential adjustment of the minimum wage was the main issue, as it was not synonymous with total wage review.
“It is an adjustment done consequentially; moving the last man on the last rung of the ladder to N30, 000 and by so doing, impinging on other salary grade levels, therefore, must consequentially move them up too.
“But the consequential movement upwards does not mean doing a percentage of the former minimum wage to the present one, which is 67 per cent. The issue is that they mistakenly lumped the two together, that is, consequential movement upwards and total wage review,” he said.
He also disclosed that Federal Government’s personnel cost had risen from N1.88 trillion to N3.08 trillion between 2016 and 2019, adding that it was in anticipation of the consequences that President Muhammadu Buhari recently set up a five-man Presidential Committee on salaries and wages.
Ngige said the committee was mandated to evaluate all public service earnings so as to ensure that quantum of work and quantum of money were synchronised in such a way that productivity would also come into play.
Commending NECA for its role during the minimum wage negotiations, he solicited its assistance towards its implementation in the private sector, noting that the sector had over the years been on self-adjustment towards the N30, 000 base earning for workers through its Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) policy.
It charged NECA to intensify efforts in re-invigorating professional unions of employers who have been passive, so as to enable workers’ unions in such establishments to be active enough to benefit from unionism.
He added that labour inspectors from the Ministry’s Inspectorate Division would be engaged in inspection of factories and industries, as from next year to ensure compliance with the national minimum wage, occupational safety, as well as enforce expatriate quota and arrest capital flight.
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