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May Day: FG, labour agree on N18,000 minimum wage

   BY FUNMI KOMOLAFE, VICTOR AHIUMA-YOUNG, OSCARLINE ONWUEMENYI MONSUR OLOWOOPEJO & DANIEL EMERIBE

  Organised labour, private employers and the Federal Government have agreed on a new  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 President  Goodluck  Jonathan  were silent on the  figure of the new minimum wage, they confirmed that a permanent wage adjustment machinery had been put in place  for all employees in the public sector.

The acting president directed the Minister  of Labour to continue discussions with the Association of Senior Civil Service Unions which  issued a strike threat on Friday to embark on strike over 10% pay adjustment recommended for civil servants with effect from tomorrow.

Dr.  Jonathan said  negotiation was nearing completion. “ A well motivated workforce is a productive workforce”, he said, adding “these are trying times for workers and government worldwide because of the global economic crisis.”.

He  also promised to boost job opportunities by encouraging investments and  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.

“My belief is that wage should not be negotiated sectorally .  I don’t believe that  if I am a medical doctor today, I am superior to  the rest of Nigeria . I don’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 move“, he said.

President of the Trade Union Congress, Comrade Peter Esele who  announced  the national minimum wage  at the May Day rally held at Eagle’s square , Abuja yesterday however said, “ we are surprised  to learn of government offer of 10% per cent increase for civil servants  while the police and the other services got between 60% to 100%.

Estelle said, “ TUC will support any action taken by the Association of Senior Civil Servants  to address  this injustice  as we will  not accept  anything less than N18,000 as minimum wage payable to Nigerian workers”.

NLC president, Comrade Abdulwaheed Omar asked the Federal Government to “ fast  track  the promulgation of the committee recommendations into a new national minimum wage law”.

Omar said, added “ we have followed the negotiations on relativity in the public service and the apparent lack of progress in the process. 

The distortion occasioned by the consolidated salary structure  in the pubic service is not only unjust but against the principles of equity and social justice”.


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