Minimum Wage: Organised Labour Lament Delay in Implementation

Organised labour has expressed its displeasure on the failure of the federal government to commence negotiation with its leaders and the Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council over the consequential adjustment in salaries arising from the new national minimum wage more than two weeks after a committee was inaugurated.

iDONSABI reported that the Federal Government on May 14, 2019 inaugurated the committee to negotiate the consequential adjustment with the former Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Winifred Oyo-Ita appointed as chairman. Other members of the committee are ministers of ministries relevant to the negotiation.

Speaking with Punch, Secretary of the Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council, Alade Lawal, said it was not necessary to wait for new ministers to be appointed before negotiation would commence.

Lawal who pointed that permanent secretaries in the ministries were competent to hold forth for government expressed the fears that if the burden of financial implication accumulated became too high, government could begin to look for a way of reducing the amount using complex financial technicalities.

“The excuse was that everybody was busy with the inauguration ceremony of President Muhammadu Buhari and others and that there are no more ministers to negotiate with us. But it does not necessarily mean that it is the ministers that should come for the meeting. The ministries have competent permanent secretaries that can represent them.

“We have given them the task of calling a meeting next week. If the President fails to appoint ministers immediately or anytime soon, does it mean the negotiation is stalled? That is why competent officers should be empowered to fill the positions of the ministers for now.” he said.

Lawal who also said over 20 tripartite committee meetings on the minimum wage were held and the Minister of Finance and that of budget and planning ministry were mostly represented added that the labour is experiencing unnecessary delay in the negotiation and workers are becoming apprehensive.

“They are beginning to think that they are being taken for a ride. The position of trade union is that the issue of handover or inauguration must not stop the negotiation.”

Lawal said it was impossible to complete negotiation in the remaining two weeks because sub-committees had to be formed apart from the main committee.

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