Organised labour has accused the government of working to derail negotiation that will result in consequential adjustment of salaries in the public service to reflect the N30,000 new national minimum wage signed into law on April 18, 2019 by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Consequently, labour, operating under the aegis of the Trade Union Side (TUS) of the Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council (JNPSNC), said on Monday it was commencing mobilisation of workers for a showdown to press home their demand for the implementation of the new wage law.
Recall that the TUS led by Anchaver Simon, chairman, and Alade Lawal, secretary, had before now warned that the eight unions in the public services of the federal and 36 state governments may have to embark on an industrial action if, by June 28, the government failed to make any headway with the negotiation to pay the minimum wage.
According to the TUS, since the committee set up early in June by the government to work out the consequential adjustment of the wage started meeting, “the government has been coming up with strange proposals with the intent to scuttle the implementation of the N30,000 new wage.
According to labour, “all was going on well until the government side came up later with their usual magic all aimed at scuttling the whole exercise.
The labour leaders stated that the TUS had initially proposed that since the minimum wage was increased by 66.66 percent (from N18,000 to N30,000), salaries for officers on grade levels 01-17 should be adjusted accordingly to maintain the relativity that exists in the salary structure in the public service.
“But when the government side argued that such increase across board would raise the total wage bill too high, the TUS reviewed its demand downward and eventually settled for 30 percent for officers on grade levels 07-14 and 25 percent for those on grade levels 15-17. The government side on its part was insisting on 9.5 percent salary raise for employees on grade levels 07-14 and 5 percent for those on grade levels 15- 17,” the union stated. The two (2) sides then agreed to capture the two positions in the technical committee’s report which will now be presented for discussion at the plenary.
According to the TUS, it received a rude shock at the last meeting of the technical committee when the government side began to hold on to a non-existent position that the technical committee’s term of reference was to base its assignment in respect of salary adjustment on what was provided for the subject in the 2019 budget. This is very incorrect and unfortunate.
It regretted that the implication of government’s position was that the technical committee cannot go beyond what the government was pushing for which is 9.5 percent salary increase for officers on GL 07-14 and 5 percent for those on GL 15-17. The implication of this is that government has a predetermined position and only called labour in to rubberstamp its hidden agenda.
“With this turn of event, it is quite clear that some fifth columnists in this administration are hell bent on pushing President Muhammadu Buhari to enter into a collision course with millions of Nigerian workers in the public service,” labour said.