FG, Labour finally reach agreement on minimum wage
The Federal Government and organised labour on Thursday finally agreed on the percentage increase on the consequential adjustment in workers’ salaries as a result of the new minimum wage of N30,000.
As the meeting reached an advanced stage, the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, tweeted from the venue that both parties had reached an agreement, but he did not give details.
The tweet read, “After some delicate negotiations (with both ministers as conciliators), the government and labour have finally reached an agreement on the consequential adjustment of other wages following the implementation of the enhanced minimum wage of N30,000. We are working on the communiqué.”
In a statement, the President of the Trade Union Congress, Quadri, and the Secretary General, Musa-Lawal Ozigi, confirmed the peace pact, commending the Federal Government and labour for their patience while the National Minimum Wage negotiations lasted.
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The statement read, “We commend the Head of Service of the Federation, Dr Folashade Yemi-Esan, and her team for their sincerity. Though they argued that the government could not afford to meet our earlier demand of N30,000 minimum wage across board because of the economic situation in the country, we made them understand that some people could not be more Nigerian than others. If we are tightening our belts, government should also do so.”
The secretary of the JNCSNC, Alade Lawal, also confirmed the figure to our correspondent through a text message after confirmation on what was agreed with the FG was sought from him.
Lawal had earlier told our correspondent that the parties had reached an agreement on the wage crisis.
He said both parties agreed on 23.2 percentage increase for workers at grade level 07; 20 per cent for those at grade level 08; 19 per cent for workers at grade level 09; 16 per cent for those on levels 10 to 14; and 14 per cent for workers at grade levels 15 to 17.
The meeting was still going on as of the time of filing this report (12.56am) on Friday.
The agreement did not come easy as negotiations between both parties collapsed several times in the last six months.
The agreement came 182 days after President Muhammadu Buhari signed the new minimum wage into law.
After the necessary legislative processes at the National Assembly, Buhari signed the 2019 New National Minimum Wage Bill into law on April 18, 2019.
Thursday’s meeting was slated to begin at 7pm but more than one hour after the labour team, led by the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Ayuba Wabba, and the government team had taken their seat, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, and Keyamo came into the conference room.
Present at the meeting were the General Secretary of the Trade Union Congress, Musa Origi; NLC General Secretary, Emma Ugboaja; Chairman of the Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council, Simon Anchaver; Secretary of the council, Alade Lawal; the President, Nigeria Union of Civil Service, Amaechi Lawrence; and the union’s General Secretary, Issa Aremu.
On the government side were the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Folashade Yemi-Esan; acting Chairman of the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission, Ekpo Nta; and the Permanent Secretary in the labour ministry, William Alo.
Ngige reminded the gathering that the future of the country must be given consideration in the negotiations.
He said if the country became broke because of personnel cost, it would suffer the consequences.
The leader of the government team, Folashade Yemi-Esan, said since Wednesday’s meeting adjourned around 2am on Thursday, members of the government team had not rested because of the enormous work given to it for an agreement to be reached at the Thursday meeting.