Labour unions have threatened to embark on a nationwide strike from October 16, following any failure to resume deliberations on minimum wage adjustments.
This was made known by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) at a meeting with the trade union arm of the Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council (JNPSNC) in Abuja, on Wednesday.
In a statement jointly signed by Ayuba Wabba, NLC president, Quadri Olaleye, TUC president, and Simon Anchaver, acting chairman of JNPSNC, the unionists said they have demonstrated restraint and patience with the government.
According to them, they will “not guarantee industrial harmony” if their demands are not met.
It noted also that they had to moderate its initial position of having 66.6% upward salary adjustment for workers on salary grade level 07-17 by accepting downward adjustment of 29% for officers on salary levels 07-14 and 24% adjustment for officers on salary grade levels 15-17.
They stressed that workers have had to suffer “huge inflation and astronomical hike” in the prices since the last minimum wage adjustment.
“Despite this patriotic gesture, the government has kept insisting that it can only pay 11% for officers on grade levels 07-14 and 6.5%consequential wage increase to public workers for officers on levels 15-17, ” the statement said.
“Of recent, the Value Added Tax (VAT) has been reviewed from 5 per cent to 7.2%.
“The nonchalant attitude of the government negotiating side has dragged negotiations for consequential wages adjustment unduly.
“The offer by the government for salary adjustment of 11% for public workers on salary grade levels 07–14 and 6.5% consequential increase for public workers on grade levels 15–17 is not acceptable to Nigerian workers.
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“We view the position of government as a show of insensitivity to the general plight of workers and an attempt to collect with the left hand what government has offered with the right hand.
“We demand the reconvening of the meeting of the committee negotiating the consequential adjustment with a view to concluding the process that started on May 28 within one week.
“We demand immediate implementation of the signed agreement on consequential adjustment of public workers’ salaries with effect from April 18 when the new national minimum wage of N30,000 per month was signed into law. ”