The President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Ayuba Wabba, said the organised labour was able to get a good deal from the Federal Government during the negotiation for consequential adjustment arising from the new minimum wage of N30,000.
Early on Friday, a meeting that began on Thursday came to an end as the Federal Government and organised labour agreed on 23.2 percentage increase for workers at grade level 07; 20 per cent for those at grade level 08; 19 per cent for workers at grade level 09; 16 per cent for those on levels 10 to 14; and 14 per cent for workers at grade levels 15 to 17.
Speaking after the meeting, Wabba said, “The process of collective bargaining is about ‘give and take’ as I have said. I think this is a greater improvement from where we started and with what we have been able to achieve.
“The bottom line is that we have come to the end of the issue of consequential adjustment and both parties participated in the process and made inputs. Workers can now expect something they can rely on to address some of the challenges that the economy has posed.”
The labour leader said the agreement also meant that state councils of labour unions would have a template to negotiate with state governments.
He added, “The guidelines will be transmitted to the state councils and they will work in harmony as we have done at the centre. The joint council, Trade Union Congress and NLC will work to ensure that implementation takes effect.”
Asked how soon the implementation would take effect, the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Folashade Yemi-Esan, said the government would begin the process immediately.
She said, “It has been a very fruitful deliberation in the past three days because both sides sat to work out this agreement. Everybody contributed to arrive at this agreement. It is good the labour and government could sit together to agree in a constructive manner.
“Work will start on the implementation immediately. We will work out the arrears definitely. The important thing is that we have an agreement, once the arrangement has been made, payment will begin as soon as we get the proper sums together. What we have done is just the percentages, we still have to work out the proper sums and the implementation will begin.”
Also speaking on the implementation of the new wage structure, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, said every employer of labour in Nigeria was bound to begin payment immediately.
He tasked labour unions to take legal step against defaulters.
“Enforcement of this law is by the Ministry of Labour and Employment through our inspectors in the field. The National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission will also help in the enforcement. The labour unions can report (failure) to us or approach the National Industrial Court directly. We expect every employer of labour to start payment immediately,” the minister said.