There are indications that workers under the auspices of the Joint National Public Sector Negotiating Council (JPSNC), might embark on strike over delayed implementation of minimum wage.
Negotiations on the consequential adjustment, which was earlier adjourned to September 4 to allow the government team brief President Muhammadu Buhari and later rescheduled for September 16, yesterday suffered another setback. Both parties failed to reach an agreement despite minor adjustments in their separate positions.
During the meeting, which was chaired by the Head of Service of the Federation, Winifred Oyo-Ita, government shifted from its earlier position of 9.5 per cent to 11 per cent for grade levels seven to 14 and 6.5 per cent from 5.5 per cent for levels 15 to 17.
But the workers insisted that government should adjust the salaries of workers on grade levels 07 to 14 by 30 per cent and those on levels 15 to 17 by 25 per cent, having stepped down to 29 from 30 per cent for grade levels 7 to 14 and 24 from 25 per cent for levels 15 to 17.
Expressing dismay over the turn of events, the Chairman of the Labour team and National Auditor of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Simon Anchaver, who accused the government team of toying with workers, said the JNPSNC has resolved to write to the Nigeria Labour Congress, (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress, (TUC) on their advice on a possible industrial action.
According to him, government’s action was an open invitation for industrial action, since workers were already engulfed in fear and agitations whether their accumulated arrears would be paid when talks were finally concluded.
He, however, said that the meeting decided that the two positions be presented to the President for further action.
Secretary of the JNPSNC, Slade Lawal, who noted that organised labour would decide on a next line of action towards the issue of the minimum wage, maintained that in due time, Nigerians would be informed on the next step to take.
In his words: “The meeting is deadlocked; we found out that the Federal Government officials are not serious about it at all. We are suspecting foul play or a hidden agenda somewhere. So, we have decided to report the development to our principals, including the Labour unions. Nigerians will be adequately briefed of our next line of action very shortly.”
New Telegraph recalls that recently, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, said President Buhari has directed that a deadline be fixed to conclude the process of negotiations as soon as possible to ensure immediate implementation of the new wage for workers to enjoy.