Â Â Â BY FUNMI KOMOLAFE, VICTOR AHIUMA-YOUNG, OSCARLINE ONWUEMENYI MONSUR OLOWOOPEJO & DANIEL EMERIBE
Â Â Organised labour, private employers and the Federal Government have agreed on a newÂ national minimum wage of N18,000 per month but an announcement to this effect yesterday on the occasion of May Day was greeted with shouts of No! no! by workers.
Although, the Nigeria Labour Congress president, Comrade Abdulwaheed Omar and Acting PresidentÂ GoodluckÂ JonathanÂ were silent on theÂ figure of the new minimum wage, they confirmed that a permanent wage adjustment machinery had been put in placeÂ for all employees in the public sector.
The acting president directed the MinisterÂ of Labour to continue discussions with the Association of Senior Civil Service Unions whichÂ issued a strike threat on Friday to embark on strike over 10% pay adjustment recommended for civil servants with effect from tomorrow.
Dr.Â Jonathan saidÂ negotiation was nearing completion. â€œ A well motivated workforce is a productive workforceâ€, he said, adding â€œthese are trying times for workers and government worldwide because of the global economic crisis.â€.
HeÂ also promised to boost job opportunities by encouraging investments andÂ to fast track development.
The acting president said, never again would there be sectoral wage negotiation in the public service where different groups of workers will clamour for wage review at different times.
â€œMy belief is that wage should not be negotiated sectorally .Â I donâ€™t believe thatÂ if I am a medical doctor today, I am superior toÂ the rest of Nigeria . I donâ€™t believe that if I am a teacher today, I am superior to the rest of Nigeria. We must put our heads together for this country to moveâ€œ, he said.
President of the Trade Union Congress, Comrade Peter Esele whoÂ announcedÂ the national minimum wageÂ at the May Day rally held at Eagleâ€™s square , Abuja yesterday however said, â€œ we are surprisedÂ to learn of government offer of 10% per cent increase for civil servantsÂ while the police and the other services got between 60% to 100%.
Estelle said, â€œ TUC will support any action taken by the Association of Senior Civil ServantsÂ to addressÂ this injusticeÂ as we willÂ not acceptÂ anything less than N18,000 as minimum wage payable to Nigerian workersâ€.
NLC president, Comrade Abdulwaheed Omar asked the Federal Government to â€œ fastÂ trackÂ the promulgation of the committee recommendations into a new national minimum wage lawâ€.
Omar said, added â€œ we have followed the negotiations on relativity in the public service and the apparent lack of progress in the process.Â
The distortion occasioned by the consolidated salary structureÂ in the pubic service is not only unjust but against the principles of equity and social justiceâ€.