Minimum wage: Labour meets, tables fresh demands, draw battle line vs govs




Days after the new minimum wage impasse was sorted between Federal Government and the organised Labour, Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) in the states are due to meet with the respective governors of states.
Shortly the labour settled their differences with government, President of the NLC Ayuba Wabba, had urged President Muhammadu Buhari regime not to increase personal incometax, electricity tariff and prices of petroleum products after
agreeing on minimum wage for all levels of workers.

The government reached a consensus on the implementation of the new
minimum wage on Friday after long hours of consultation between the
parties.

A resolution was finally reached early yesterday when labour accepted
a 23.2 percent salary increase for workers on level 07; 20 percent for
those on level 08; 19 percent for level 09; 16 percent for levels 10
to 14 and 14 percent for levels 15 to 17.

Reacting to the agreement, the labour union president described the
signing of the agreement as a victory for Nigerian workers.

He said: “We want to thank all Nigerian workers and our affiliated
unions for their support, solidarity, and unity of purpose throughout
the difficult negotiations. It is heartwarming that the process was
eventually rewarding.

”We must say that, as always, we were disappointed by the antics of
those whose interest lies elsewhere than the common goal of protecting
and advancing the interest of ordinary Nigerian workers.

“We wish to emphasize that the hard-won salary adjustment will benefit
all categories of workers including those in the military and
para-military services. Apart from workers, the recent salary increase
will also benefit ordinary citizens, especially those in the informal
sector as the increase in the available disposable income of workers
will translate into a stronger purchasing power for our people.

“This will however only be sustainable if traders and providers of
essential services refrain from artificial inflation of the prices of
goods and services. It makes more sense to sell more at a stable price
than sell little or nothing at inflated prices. Certainly, we have
learnt from our past mistakes that inflation of prices with adjustment
in salaries is a roulette game in which the downtrodden masses are the
victims.

“We also call on the government to refrain from introducing
counter-productive economic policies and decisions that would erode
the recent wage gain achieved by workers. Any further increase in the
prices of petroleum products, electricity tariffs, and personal income
taxes would amount to collecting with the left hand what is given to
workers with the right hand. The leadership of organized labour will
resist such a move.

”Arising from our successful negotiation with the federal government,
it is expected that all employers of labour in the public sector must
ensure that all the necessary formalities for a smooth implementation
of the negotiated salaries based on the new national minimum wage are
carried out with immediate effect.

”While commending state governments that have already commenced
implementation of the new national minimum wage, we urge that the
implementation should be a product of collective bargaining process in
line with ILO Convention 98 on Organizing and Collective Bargaining.

”Furthermore, all employers of labour in the thirty-six states of the
federation and the Federal Capital Territory, as well as the organized
private sector, are expected to complete the implementation process of
the new national minimum wage and consequential wage adjustment
forthwith.

”State councils of the Nigeria Labour Congress are hereby directed to
offer leadership and work harmoniously with the TUC and JNPSNC and all
unions to ensure effective implementation of the new national minimum
wage and the consequential salary adjustment that must be reached
through a process of collective bargaining.”  

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