New Minimum wage negotiation: States get Dec 31 deadline

New Minimum wage negotiation

Organised labour, yesterday, issued a December 31 deadline to governors to implement the new minimum wage. It also ordered state councils not to negotiate below the template agreed with the Federal Government.
At a meeting by the Trade Union Side (TUS) of the Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council (JNPSNC) in Abuja, yesterday, state chapters were given the nod to commence immediate negotiations with their governments on the payment of the minimum wage and its consequential adjustment.
Acting Chairman of the TUS of the JNPSNC, Simon Anchaver, at a press conference in Abuja, said information and data from agreements with the Federal Government were shared with state chapters, including the template and table of payment generated by labour.
He said the union had to prepare the payment table because of the failure by the Federal Government to prepare the table from the template agreed upon.
“We have concluded negotiation with the Federal Government, and an agreement on what to pay federal workers had been signed. The next stage is for the state chapters to open discussion, that is why we have called this meeting,” he said.
The Federal Government had agreed on consequential adjustments and percentage increase for workers in the federal civil service with organised labour on October 18. But the Nigeria Governors Forum had said each state would only pay according its financial standing.
Anchaver, however, said states like Kebbi and Kaduna which had commenced payment with a unilateral increment without negotiation, must go back to the negotiating table with labour.
He said the implementation of the minimum wage must start from April when it was signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari.
He also emphasised the position of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) that any governor that finds it difficult or refuses to pay should be impeached.
He said TUS had adopted the deregulated collective bargaining style to ensure that state governments also negotiate what they could afford, provided it was not below the N30, 000 benchmark.
Secretary-General of the JNPSNC, Mr. Alade Lawal, said the union had agreed with state councils to start sending letters to governors for the commencement of negotiations.
Said Lawal: “Negotiation with state governments starts anytime from today, we have agreed that the joint national negotiating council should send letters to state governments as from tomorrow. The draft for the letter is ready. Negotiation starts immediately after the receipt of the letter.”
Lawal, who is also the Secretary General of the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) said the council was still expecting an agreed template from the National Salaries Incomes and Wages Commission (NSIWC), to act as guideline to states in their negotiations.
“We are expecting a circular from the National Income Salaries and Wages Commission, but we are being proactive. We have decided to develop a table on consolidated public salary structure and the consolidated health sector salary arrangement.
“This is like a replica of the table that we are expecting from the NISWC based on the agreement that we signed with the federal government. This was given to state negotiating council chairmen to serve as guide so that they can have a view of what it looks like when they start their own negotiation in their states.
“It, however, does not serve as the circular we are expecting from the Federal Government through the NISWC,” Lawal said.
According to the TUS secretary, labour is hopeful that by December 31, all negotiations should be wrapped up.
“In areas where we experience difficulties, we have decided to move in as a group to shut down the state to ensure implementation,” Lawal said.
He expressed the hope that negotiations at the states would not go beyond the agreed benchmark, saying the national minimum wage was the lowest anyone would go.
NLC General Secretary, Emma Ugboaja warned that besides the impeachment of governors that default, the NLC would also shut down states that breach the agreement.
Labour and Federal Government had agreed on the consequential adjustment on wages, which reflected that those on COMESS wage structure, grade level 7 gets 23 per cent; level 8, 20 per cent; level 9, 19 per cent; level 10 -14, 16 per cent, while salary grade level 15-17 will have 14 per cent.
Those on the second category of wages structure, CONHES, CONRRISE, CONTISS however have level 07, 22.2 per cent, level 08 – 14, 16 per cent and level 15 to 17, 10.5 per cent as increase.

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