Oyo-Ita: Labour Making Unrealistic Minimum Wage Demands

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Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja

The Head of Service, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita, has accused some senior union leaders of hampering the conclusion of the work of the presidential committee on consequential adjustment of new national minimum wage.

She attributed their unrealistic demands as the cause of the breakdown of negotiations and delay in the implementation of the national minimum wage of N30,000.

Oyo- Ita spoke yesterday in Abuja at a retreat for top management staff of the Office of the Head of Service and ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) on the modality of implementing the Federal Civil Service Strategy Plan 2017- 2020.

There is a disagreement between the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission and the Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council over the consequential adjustment in workers’ salaries on the new minimum wage arising from differences in the percentage increase in the salaries for workers.

While the federal government is offering 9.5 per cent salary increase for employees on Grade Levels 07-14 and five per cent for those on grade levels 15-17, Labour is demanding about 30 per cent increase for officers on Grade Levels 07 to 14 and 25 per cent increase for Grade Levels 15 to 17.

Oyo-Iya described these demands by the unions, which are threatening to embark on strike, as unrealistic and the reasons for the continued delay in the implementation of “the well-thought out policy that is very dear to the president”.
The HoS said the government would not allow the demands of mainly the senior staff unions to continue to affect the low-income earners, who the minimum wage is meant to address.

She said President Muhammadu Buhari was particular about the implementation of the new minimum wage, which informed the spirit behind the setting up of the Presidential Committee on Consequential Adjustment of New Minimum Wage.

“We cannot allow the demands of mainly the senior staff unions to continue to affect those who the minimum wage was meant to address and affect those with very low income. So we have gone ahead to implement the national minimum wage as approved and signed into law while we continue the conversation with the union staff,” Oyo-Ita said.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha and members of the Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council are billed to meet tomorrow to discuss issues that led to the breakdown of negotiations between the federal government and the council on the implementation of the N30,000 new minimum wage.