Minimum Wage: Labour preparing for strike as Governors says no money to pay new salaries as economy is in doldrums

Chris Ngige

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has directed its state councils to prepare for a nationwide strike from October 16, 2019, following disagreement with the Nigeria Governors Forum over specific salary adjustments for workers on the new National Minimum Wage.

Governor Kayode Fayemi, the Chairman of the NGF, had noted that any NLC strike would only be in futility as the states could not meet the specific demands on the salaries adjustments to meet the minimum wage.

He called on labour to take the country’s economic situation into consideration before embarking on an industrial action.

“We don’t want workers to down tools, but we made it clear during the tripartite negotiation that an increase in the National Minimum Wage is not tantamount to a general wage review.

“The fact that we moved people, who were below N30,000 to N30,000 and wherever they should be on the scale, should not automatically mean that we must increase the salaries of people on Level 17, who are on N400,000. It is a minimum wage law; it is not a general wage law.

“Yes, if you promote levels 05 or 06, they may go over what the current level 07 is earning. So, that calls for a consequential adjustment, but that adjustment should not go over levels 08 and 09.  The Federal Government has even agreed to do nine per cent for levels 07 to 12 and five per cent for levels 13 and above, but they said no and insisted on 45 per cent,” the governor said.

“Where is Nigeria going to find the money? I mean the economy is in doldrums. Whether we openly admit or not, everyone knows. If you have an economy that earmarks N2.4tn for debt servicing; then what are we talking about? So, I hope good sense will prevail and that people will be able to convince labour that it is a futile effort if they do so because Nigeria cannot pay what it doesn’t have,” he added.

The NLC however wrote its state chairmen, saying that there would be no going back on its demand.

The Federal Government and the Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council will meet again on Tuesday over the situation.

The problem is that; NLC is demanding 29% salary increase for officers on salary grade level 07 to 14 and 24% adjustment for officers on salary grade level 15 to 17. But the FG presented a proposal of 11% salary increase for officers on grade level 07 to 14 and 6.5% adjustment for workers on grade level 15 to 17.

Labour however in its reaction (as published on Naija Buzz News) warned that it could not guarantee industrial peace if government failed to meet its demand at the end of October 16.

Chris Ngige, the Minister of Labour and Productivity, consequently called for a meeting tomorrow October 15 to address the issue and reach an agreement.

Ahead of the meeting however, NLC in its recent letter instructed its state chairmen to prepare for strike.

The letter reads below in parts.

“You will recall that a joint communiqué was issued by the leadership of the NLC, the Trade Union Congress and the Joint Public Service Negotiating Council stating that after two weeks from the date of the said communiqué, industrial harmony could not be guaranteed in the country should an agreement not be reached with the Federal Government on the consequential adjustment of salaries as a result of the new minimum wage of N30, 000.

“You are hereby directed to coordinate preparations with the TUC and the JPSNC in your state for necessary industrial action should the time expire without an agreement as contained in the communiqué.”

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  1. Pingback: Labour, FG adjourned meeting after 9 hours; to continue negotiation this morning - Naija Buzz News

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