Again, Minimum Wage Adjustment Talks Ends in Deadlock

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Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja

The meeting between the Federal Government’s negotiating team and representatives of the Joint Public Service Unions (JPSUs) on consequential adjustment for the N30,000 new minimum wage has again ended in deadlock.

The negotiating team, which failed to reach an agreement during previous talks, met again yesterday’s evening without making any progress.

One of the representatives of the unions, who spoke to THISDAY after the meeting, said the engagement ended without any resolution.

The source, who did not want his name to be mentioned, said the labour negotiating team were angry that government officials failed to act in line with the resolution reached at their last meeting, which stipulated that the positions of both sides should be taken to President Muhammadu Buhari to enable him decide on the way forward.

“We discovered that they are not serious at all. The mandate given to the government’s side was to take the position of labour and the government’s team to Mr. President and report at this meeting. But we discovered that they didn’t do it. They are just taking us for a ride.

“So we are reporting that the meeting was deadlocked and our next line of action will be to report to our parent unions,” the source said, adding that “labour’s position is that salaries of workers on grade levels 7 to14 should be raised by 29 percent while those on level 15 to 17 should have an increment of 24 percent.”

However, the government’s side recommended 10 percent salary increase for workers on grade levels seven to 14 and five percent for those between 15 and 17.

The source also said the labour negotiating team walked out of the meeting because there was nothing new on the table.

“We are going to report to our labour centres on the outcome so that they will let Nigerians know what transpired and what our next move will be,” he said.

THISDAY could not get anyone from the government’s negotiating team to comment on the latest development before going to the press.

Last week, President Buhari had asked the Joint Committee on Consequential Adjustments of the new minimum wage to move swiftly with talks in order to reach an agreement without further delay.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, expressed the view that President Buhari was very worried about the delay in the commencement of payment of the N30,000 new minimum wage.

Ngige said the President had instructed, through his Chief of Staff, that a deadline be set to end negotiations.

“It is the determination of the President and this administration to fast track the negotiation on consequential adjustment. I have just received a correspondence from the Chief of Staff to the President and we are putting a deadline to this negotiation. We are fast tracking it because the government will also want to put in place a Presidential Committee on Salaries and Allowances that will be able to take requests after this consequential adjustment,” he said.