As workers earnestly await the implementation of the minimum wage, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige has promised to end the disagreement on the consequential adjustment and salary relativity.
Ngige, who made the promise to Labour Writers in Abuja on Wednesday, said that the disagreement was responsible for the delay in the implementation of the new minimum wage.
The minister said that the decision to end the disagreement was to avoid the burden the backlog of arrears, the new minimum wage, would pose to state governments.
“If you remember, a committee was set up and I was a member. When we left, the Permanent Secretary took our place and was negotiating with the Joint Negotiating Council on the consequential adjustment.
“The states are waiting for that, and it is not proper for us not to fast-track that negotiation so that even the states will not have too much backlog to pay when the consequential adjustment is concluded.
“We have on our own budgeted for it in the 2019 budget and we are going to also budget for it in the 2020 budget. We are concerned about the states because some of the states are not proactive like us.
“So, the sooner we conclude at the Federal level, and the Joint Negotiating Councils in the states takes it from there and negotiate with the states, the better for everybody,’’ he said.
Ngige said that another negotiation was important to be able to ascertain the number of states that would be able to be to pay the backlog.
He said that it was the determination of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to fast-track the negotiation on consequential adjustment.
The minister said he had received a correspondence from the Chief of Staff to the President notifying him of a deadline to the negotiation, adding that the details would soon be made public.
He also disclosed that the federal government would constitute a Presidential Committee on Salaries and Allowances that would take request after the consequential adjustment and ensure salary uniformity.
“Before then, that same committee will appraise the level of workload and evaluate all cadre of work and come out with salaries and allowances commensurate with each.
“It is one of the things that the government has decided, and I have just seen the correspondence. When the details are out, we will let you know,’’ he said.
Negotiation between the government and the Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council (JNPSNC), representing labour in the technical committee set up to negotiate the consequential adjustment of workers’ salaries, had broken down due to unresolved differences in their proposals.
While the Federal Government proposed 9.5 per cent salary increase for employees on grade levels 07 to 14 and five per cent for those on grade levels 15 to 17, labour is demanding 30 per cent increase for officers on grade levels 07 to 14 and 25 per cent increase for grade levels 15 to 17.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that both parties have agreed to meet again on September 16.