Sun. Oct 20th, 2019

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Minimum Wage: FG, Labour Meeting End In No Avail

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The meeting of the technical committee assigned to work on the alarming increments of the N30,000 new National Minimum Wage with the labour representative has yet come to no avail after the Federal Government representative, and labour representative disagreed on the proposed percentage increase on their meeting on Thursday.

Despite the fact that the president promised that his administration would be committed to the implementation of the new minimum wage while telling the state government to follow suit as well.

The meeting held on Thursday ends in a firm disagreement after the government representative told the committee that whatever adjustment they will make must correspond with the 168 billion Naira provided for the alignment in the 2019 budget.

The labour proposed a 30% salary increase for officers between level 7 to 14 while the Federal Government stood their ground on 9 to 15% salary increase for them.

The Labour representative said a 25% increase for officers between 15 to 17 level while the government announced 5% only.

One of the committees said, “What we are pushing for is that government should adjust the minimum wage of those who are already on level one to level six to reflect the new minimum wage.

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Then officers on level seven to 14 should be given an additional 30 per cent of their salaries. We are also pushing that those on level 15 to level 17 should be given 25 per cent of their wages. That will be fair enough to all, and that is what we are proposing.

“But the government does not want to do that, technically, and that is what they are standing on.

“Government is saying that from level seven to level 14, only nine and a half per cent of their salaries will be added while only five per cent increase in salary will be offered officers on levels 15 to 17.”

He said government, by its present position, was working contrary to the terms of reference.

He added, “What really happened after that was that the meeting ended in a deadlock. The term of reference even to the technical committee was to go and work the consequential adjustment based on the economic reality of today. But when the meeting got to a stage, the government said the change would be based on the provision for the adjustment made in the 2019 budget.

“The scenario is that the government is working towards a certain fixed amount, and we are expected to be bound by it. What is in the budget for the minimum wage adjustment is N168bn. If we accept to work along with that line, it means that whatever calculation we are working on must arrive at that amount.

“That was not our initial agreement. We were even asking the representatives of the government that they should let us know how much government is working towards so that the committee would be guided.

“What government is coming up with now is not what we agreed in terms of reference. With that, we cannot continue with the discussion. If the government wants to issue circular based on that, it is free, but we are not going to be a party to that.”

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