BY VICTOR AHIUMA-YOUNG
ABUJA — WORKERS in the public service have issued a 21-day ultimatum to state governors to enter into negotiation with their Joint Negotiating Council, JNC, with a view to arriving at an acceptable bench mark of salary parity between the Federal and state governments, to avoid industrial unrest across the states.
Under the umbrella of Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council, JNPSNC (trade union side), the workers called on state governments to immediately reactivate negotiations and enter into dialogue with their state councils over the negotiated pay review before the passage of N18,000 minimum wage into law by the National Assembly to avert the looming industrial unrest.
In a statement by Comrades Marcus I. Omokhuale and Kiri Mohammed, National Secretary and National Chairman, respectively, trade union side of JNPSNC lamented the non-implementation of the negotiated upward review of salary which was the outcome of a collective bargaining exercise between the Federal Government and the Trade Union Side of the Joint National Public service Negotiating Council by State Governments since 1st July, 2010.
According to the statement: “Information reaching us from the Secretariat of State Joint Public Service Negotiating Councils has revealed that most State Governors have not allowed the Councils to enter into negotiation with a view to arriving at an acceptable bench mark of salary parity between the Federal and state Governments.
“We are also aware that most state governments use overzealous party youth chairmen and individuals parading as NLC representatives to create an atmosphere of industrial disharmony which has endangered social dialogue in those states.
“Information at our disposal has absolved genuine NLC representatives of involvement in any action that would endanger the hope of the working class, vis-à-vis the common man, from realising his best in the current democratic process. We are unable still to identify genuine youth leaders with the diabolic attitude being attributed to them by some politicians.”
“We are dissatisfied with the actions of some state governments who are using the party machineries to muzzle labour, particularly the JNC, instead of acting as partners-in-progress like the Federal level where the Head of Public Service of the Federation is Chairman of JNC.”
Logically, one expects the Heads of Civil Service of the States to take a cue and head the State Councils of JNC Government Side.
Unfortunately, most Heads of Civil Service have been unable to identify their full responsibilities and the legal status of the JNC as the only authentic machinery for negotiation and thus have jettisoned it. We are therefore calling on the State Governments to immediately reactivate the negotiation machineries and enter into dialogue with the state councils of JNC over the negotiated pay review before the passage of N18,000 minimum wage into law by the National Assembly.
We wish to use this medium to warn that any state government that fails to respond positively and enter into a fruitful negotiation with the JNC within twenty one (21) days shall be faced with a serious industrial crisis. We have directed the members of state JNC to mobilize the workers of the states that have failed to pay the negotiated pay review to embark on industrial action, immediately. This release stands as a warning and a notice of industrial action.