FG to reconstitute minimum wage negotiation team as talks resume today
Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, who disclosed this yesterday in Abuja when a delegation of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) led by its President, Ayuba Wabba visited him, explained that reconstituting the team became necessary as ministers were expected take over negotiations from permanent secretaries.
“Before I came for this meeting, I tried to look for the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), because the logical thing for us to do since we have all agreed, is to reconstitute our own representation, the permanent secretaries have to hand over to us so that we can continue from wherever they stopped,” he said.
It was also learnt that further negotiations of the consequential adjustment of the minimum wage from grade levels seven to 17 would continue in Abuja today.
This follows disagreement between the Federal Government and the Joint National Public Service Negotiation Council (NPSNC) Trade Union Side.
While there are no disagreements over increment for grade levels one to six, there are major disagreements regarding grade levels seven to 17.
On grade level seven, while government proposed addition of N5, 139, labour insisted on N16, 230.
Wabba, who said the Joint Council has informed the NLC and Trade Union Congress (TUC) of the deadlock, urged Ngige to intervene in resolving areas of disagreements.
He explained that previous negotiations provided empirical data on the processes adopted in the past to arrive at a wage structure that would be acceptable to labour.
“The minimum wage law, which started in 1981, affords us the historical empirical data on the processes that can help us sort out nutty issues very quickly so that Nigerian workers can begin to enjoy the new wage.
“The issue of consequential adjustment has always been resolved without much ado. We have never witnessed what we are seeing now. We urge government to consult the data on previous exercises produced as guide to arrive at figures that would be acceptable to the joint negotiation council.
“I am aware that the committee is meeting today to try to arrive at a conclusion. I am also aware that the new minimum wage has been effected for levels one to six. But these grade levels are the minority in the public service and therefore, there is the need to ensure that other cadres of service also enjoy the increment,” he stated.
Responding, Ngige said government would involve the two labour centres in the negotiations going forward to ensure that all the stakeholders are fully carried along.
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