he Organised Labour on Tuesday rose from its national executive meeting with a notice to the Federal Government that it had commenced the mobilisation of workers for a total industrial action if negotiation on the consequential adjustment arising from the N30,000 new minimum wage breaks down.
The decision was the focus of a communiqué issued at the end of the meeting of the national leadership of the Trade Union Side of the Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council and chairmen and secretaries of the body in all the 36 states of the federation in Abuja.
The union’s position was coming on a day the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Ayuba Wabba, clarified that the NLC had not given any notice of strike to the FG, stressing that negotiation on the salary increase was progressing smoothly. He, however, added that such action might be necessary.
Government’s negotiation with the Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council on the increase in workers’ salary deadlocked after representatives of government proposed 9.5 per cent salary increase for employees on Grade Levels 07-14 and five per cent for those on Grade Levels 15-17.
The council, which is negotiating on behalf of workers in the public service, argued that if government position was heeded, workers on level seven step eight would only have a monthly salary increase of N5,139 instead of N16, 230 which the new law stipulated, while those on level 17 step eight would have an additional monthly salary of N22,056 instead of N88,226.
The communiqué, which was signed by the acting Chairman of JNPSNC, Anchaver Simon, and secretary of the body, Alade Lawal, called on government to reconvene the meeting of the negotiating committee, accusing it of deliberately making attempt to deny workers the opportunity of benefitting maximally from the new Minimum Wage Act signed by President Muhammadu Buhari in April this year.
The communiqué read, “We have commenced mobilisation and sensitisation of public employees in the 36 states of the federation, including the Federal Capital Territory to prepare them for total trade unions action in event that negotiation on the consequential adjustment arising from the N30,000 monthly minimum wage breaks down.”
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission, Richard Egbule, says the Federal Government has approved with immediate effect the payment of the new minimum wage of N30,000 for workers who are currently earning wages below the new approved benchmark.
He made this known in Abuja on Tuesday.
Egbugbe said, “The approval of the new minimum wage takes effect from April 18, 2019. However, the negotiation between the FG and JNPSNC will continue and the outcome will be implemented from the date an agreement was reached.”