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LABOUR and the Federal Government have defended their positions on the new minimum wage table for workers’ salaries.
They had last night reached an agreement on the consequential adjustment to the salaries of senior civil servants towards the full implementation of the new minimum wage.
The agreement, after two days of talks, ended the strike threat.
In addition to Federal Government workers on Levels 1-6, who already enjoy the N30,000 minimum wage, Grade Level 07 workers, will now have 23% addition to their pay.
The other categories of federal workers will get the following increment: 20 per cent for GL 08; 19 per cent for GL 09; 16 per cent for GL 10 to 14 and 14 per cent for workers on GL 15 to 17.
At yesterday’s meeting on the side of organised Labour were: Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Ayuba Wabba, Trade Union Congress (TUC) General-Secretary Musa Lawal Ozigi; NLC’s General Secretary Emmanuel Ugbaoja; Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council (JNPSNC) Chairman Simon Achaver; JNPSNC Secretary Alade Lawal; Nigeria Union of Civil Service President Amaechi Lawrence (JNPSNC member) and General Secretary Issa Aremu.
The government team was led by the Head of Service of the Federation (HoCSF) Mrs. Folashade Yemi- Esan; Minister of Labour and Employment Chris Ngige; Minister of State for Employment Festus Keyamo; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Williams Alo and the Acting Chairman, National Salaries Income and Wages Commission, Ekpo Nta.
The TUC confirmed the agreement in a statement by its President, Comrade Quadri Olaleye, and Secretary-General, Comrade Musa-Lawal Ozigi.
They said: “We commend the Head of Service of the federation, Dr. Folashade Yemi-Esan and her team for their sincerity.
“Though they argued that government cannot afford to meet our earlier demand of N30, 000 minimum wage across board because of the economic situation in the country, but we made them understand that some people cannot be more Nigerian than others.
“If we are tightening our belts, government should also do so.
“By the agreement reached, the core civil servants:- GL 7 (23.2%), GL 8 -(20%), GL 9 – (19%), GL 10-14 – (16%) and GL 15-17 (14%).
“Others, GL -7 (23.2%) like above; 8-14 shall earn (16%) and 15-17 (10.5).
“As an organization and a major stakeholder in the Nigerian project we believe that the parties have done well. We shifted grounds and that is why we were able to resolve things without major injuries. It is a win win situation.
“This is a unique agreement and we promise to build on that by God’s grace.”
Speaking before the resumption of talks yesterday, Ngige urged both parties to conclude negotiations on the consequential adjustment for the full implementation of N30, 000 minimum wage to workers.
He urged them to fast track discussions and put an end to the minimum wage discussion.
The minister addressed reporters before the meeting started at about 8: 30pm.
Ngige said: “We have often repeated that the essence of that law was for the President to lift the vulnerable working force both in the private and public service.
“This is a national law and it must be obeyed by all, state government, local government and all persons concerned that employ more than 25 per cent in their organisation.
“We have decided to fast track discussions. We are fast tracking it because we need to put an end to the issue of minimum wage till the next five year when it will come up again.
“We need to finalise this today (yesterday). The suspense is too much for the people. Even your constituency- workers, if we don’t conclude today, they will be thinking otherwise. They will start thinking that you have been compromised. Even on the government side, if we don’t conclude today, they will start saying you people are influencing us.
“This negotiation should be, in the spirit o