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Strong indication has emerged suggesting a possible showdown between the Nigerian workers and the Federal Government over the percentage of increases in the salaries of workers in line with the new National Minimum Wage (NMW) of N30,000 recently signed into law by the President.
The labour movement under the aegis of the Trade Union Side (TUS) of the Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council (JNPSNC), the eight Unions in the Public Services of the Federal and 36 State Governments is regretting that rather than the government to align with its genuine proposal that settled for 30% for officers on Grade Levels 07-14 and 25% for those on Grade Levels 15-17, Government is insisting on 9.5% salary raise for employees on Grade Levels 07-14 and 5% for those on Grade Levels 15-17.
However, 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.
But the TUS said is accusing the government of holding 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, saying “This is very incorrect and unfortunate”.
According to the labour body, “The implication of Government’s position was that the Technical Committee cannot go beyond what the Government was pushing for which is 9.5% salary increase for officers on GL 07-14 and 5% 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.
The crux of the matter according to TUS Acting Chairman, Comrade Anchaver Simon, and the Secretary, Comrade Alade Bashir Lawal, is that since the Committee was set up last month by the Government to work out the Consequential Adjustments arising from the new National Minimum Wage of N30,000.00 started to meet, “the Government has been coming up with one strange proposal or the other all with the intent of scuttling the implementation of the new National Minimum Wage signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday, 18th April, 2019”.
In a statement, TUS noted that “As things are right now, the Government Side is only prepared to pay peanuts to workers as adjustment under the pretext that it will soon be undertaking general salary review in the Public Service”.
Recall that the Committee on Consequential Adjustment of salary agreed to set up a technical body to work out different scenarios in respect of salaries that would be paid to workers who are in the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) that draw their emoluments from the Government treasury.
TUS averred further that “With this turn of event, it is quite clear now 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. This is very sad.”
“It is indeed perplexing that political office holders whose monthly take home pay runs into millions of Naira are the ones working behind the scene to ensure that Public Service employees especially core Civil Servants continue to receive starvation wages.
“This is why the eight Trade Unions in the Public Service have resolved that enough is enough and that if the Federal Government fails to call its officials to order and direct them to negotiate openly the issue of Consequential Adjustment arising from the new National Minimum Wage, millions of workers at the Federal and 36 States Public Services will have no other alternative than to take some necessary Trade Union actions to seek redress. The time for President Buhari to act is now,” the Union emphasized.
In line with the ongoing confusion over the incremental pay that will flow from the NMW, the Trade Union Side of the Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council across the Federation is now meeting with the sole aim of “setting the records straight and at the same time preparing for appropriate Trade Union measures to be deployed to get justice for public service employees”.
In their submission, if the Federal Government fails to see reasons with labour’s position, there are chances that a nationwide strike will begin soon.
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