- States, labour unions to begin talks
Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja, Kemi Olaitan in Ibadan, Yinka Kolawole in Osogbo, Hammed Shittu in Ilorin, Francis Sardauna in Katsina, Daji Sani in Yola, and Benjamin Nworie in Abakaliki
The federal government has finally released the circular on the implementation of the N30,000 new minimum wage to federal workers, setting the stage for the labour unions in the states to commence the negotiations on consequential adjustment to the new wage, THISDAY’s investigation has revealed.
THISDAY gathered that the circular, which originated from the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission, was released at the weekend.
While Katsina and Borno States chapters of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) have confirmed that they had received the circular of the new minimum wage consequential adjustment from the federal government, the Osun State NLC said the circular is expected to reach the state on Tuesday or Wednesday this week.
The President of the NLC, Mr. Ayuba Wabba, who confirmed the issuance of the circular to THISDAY at the weekend, said that with the development, state governments that have been waiting to use the federal government’s minimum wage consequential adjustment template to negotiate with their labour unions will now effectively commence negotiations with their workers.
He also said the release of the circular was an indication that the payment of the new minimum wage has commenced across board.
“The new minimum wage circular was just released yesterday (Friday) by the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission – that is the implementation circular for public service in the federal civil service. We received clear information that the circular was released Friday evening,” he explained.
When asked if the states have been availed of copies of the minimum wage implementation circular, Wabba said that the leadership of the labour movement is following up, adding that it would be made available to them.
According to Wabba the minimum wage consequential adjustment deal reached at the federal level is the benchmark that is supposed to guide state governments and other private sector employers of labour to also reach agreement with their workers.
He also said that the circular directed that implementation will take effect from April 18, the day President Muhammadu Buhari signed the new minimum wage bill into law.
Wabba said now that the circular for federal workers are out, labour will follow-up and ensure that states get copies to guide their negotiations.
“State branches of the NLC, Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the Public Service Joint Negotiating Councils (PSJNC) are working assiduously with the state governments as a team and in many states process are ongoing.
“We are following up. It is our duty to make the circular available to states and we will do that. Once the process starts, you will see that it will move from state to state until it is concluded,” he said.
He cited Lagos, Katsina and Kaduna as states where the process of negotiations has already begun.
Wabba assured workers that the leadership of the various centres, NLC, TUC and the Joint Negotiating Council were collectively working and monitoring the process to see that every worker gets the new minimum wage.
He said it was not only in the public sector that the minimum wage issue was being taken up, adding that the private sector employers were also engaged in negotiations to comply with New Minimum Wage Act.
The NLC president said that states have expressed the commitment to pay the new minimum wage except two states, adding that labour intends to dialogue further with affected states and make them understand that it has capacity to do some level of engagement.
Under the agreement reached between federal government and representatives of labour, core civil servants on Grade Level 7 will get 23.2 per cent adjustment; Grade Level 8 (20 per cent), Grade Level 9 (19 per cent), Grade Levels 10-14 (16 per cent) and Grade Levels 15-17 (14 per cent).
Other workers on Grade Level 7 will be given (23.2 per cent), while Grade Levels 8-14 will earn (16 per cent) and Grade Levels 15-17 (10.5 per cent).
Meanwhile, in Katsina State, the state chapter of NLC said it had received the circular of the new minimum wage consequential adjustment from federal government and inaugurated a committee for its implementation.
The state NLC Chairman, Mr. Hussaini Hamisu, told THISDAY that negotiations would soon commence between NLC and state government to address issues in the consequential adjustment.
He said: “Consequential adjustment table is very explanatory. Therefore, NLC as a body would ensure that all workers in Katsina benefit from the new salary increment.
“Government has already set up their negotiation team and we as NLC have also inaugurated our own negotiation committee. We will sit down together and commence the negotiation process soon,” he said.
In the meantime, Katsina State government has inaugurated the committee to negotiate consequential adjustment in salaries arising from the new National Minimum Wage.
The committee, headed by the Secretary to State Government (SSG), Dr. Mustapha Inuwa, has 21 days to complete its assignment.
Inaugurating the committee at Government House, Governor Aminu Bello Masari urged them to ensure that their recommendations were in accordance with the ‘limited resources” of the state.
In Borno State, the state chairman of NLC, Mr. Bulama Abiso, told THISDAY that the union had received the circular at the weekend.
He said the union would this week officially write the state government to kick-start negotiation.
The Chairman of the NLC in Osun State, Mr. Jacob Adekomi, said the circular on minimum wage on the consequential adjustment from the federation government would reach the state between Tuesday and Wednesday this week.
He told THISDAY that there were no negotiations yet because there was a directive that the union must follow the federal government’s templates.
THISDAY gathered that the 20-man Joint Negotiating Committee for the implementation of the new minimum wage and its consequential adjustment in Ebonyi State were still meeting.
The state Secretary of NLC, Mr. Chukwuma Onwe, said though the state chapter had not received the circular of minimum wage adjustment from the federal government, the joint committee had been negotiating on acceptable structure.
Also, the Special Assistant to the Ebonyi State governor on Inter-Party and Labour Matters, Ms. Jennifer Nwafor, told THISDAY that workers in the state would enjoy better days ahead.
The Adamawa State Chairman of NLC, Chief Emmanuel Fashe, said the Governor, Alhaji Ahmadu Fintiri, has directed that no state worker should receive below N32,000 as minimum wage this November.
Fashe said they were awaiting the circular on consequential adjustment.
The Kwara State Vice Chairman of the NLC, Alhaji Salihu Yusuf, told THISDAY: “The circular has not been sent to the NLC but hopefully next week. This is based on our resolution at the NLC leadership retreats at Enugu State recently. It was agreed upon that we should all wait until the template and the circular from National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission is made available to the leadership of the NLC.”
The Chairman of NLC in Oyo State, Mr. Bayo Titilola-Sodo, told THISDAY that the union was yet to get the circular of minimum wage consequential adjustment, adding that the circular was still being expected.