The Joint National Public Negotiation Council has said the federal government has introduced a new strategy to halt negotiation with the introduction of new figures to come up with its own template.
According to the council, which is representing workers in the negotiation, the new template the Federal Government was proposing to implement the new minimum wage would impoverish workers.
It could be recalled that Winifred Oyo-Ita, Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, has revealed that what is delaying the implementation of the new minimum wage is unrealistic demand from senior civil servants.
Negotiation between the Federal Government and the Joint National Public Negotiation Council broke down two weeks ago because of differences in percentage increase in the salaries of workers.
The Federal Government’s representatives in the technical committee set up to negotiate the consequential increase had proposed 9.5 percent salary increase for workers on Grade Level 07 to Level 14 and five percent increase for employees on Grade Level 15 to 17, while the labour representatives are demanding 30 percent salary increase for workers on Grade Level seven to 14 and 25 percent for workers on Grade Level 15 to 17.
Speaking with journalists at the opening of a retreat on 2017-2020 federal civil service strategy and implementation plan organised by the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation in Abuja on Monday, Oyo-Ita said the Federal Government under President Muhammadu Buhari was committed to the implementation of the new minimum wage, calling on labour to review its demands.
“President Buhari is keen on the implementation of the new minimum wage and that is why the committee set up on the consequential adjustment arising from the new minimum wage has been meeting unions within the labour union and the public service to arrive at a consequential adjustment.”
Speaking on the situation, the Secretary-General of the JNPSNC, Alade Lawal, said the Federal Government has demonstrated its unwillingness to hold fair and healthy bargain with labour during negotiation.
Considering the state of the economy, what the Federal Government tabled as proposal as consequential increase during negotiation that broke down, he said it would only make workers poorer.
The Head of the Civil Service of the Federation was not saying the truth. The whole world knows that we started negotiation with the government with open hands, hoping that we would be accorded same by the Federal Government’s representatives in the committee. At a stage, government became unrealistic considering all variables that had taken place in our economy.
“What the government is putting on the table will only make workers poorer. Some of the actors on the side of government think they know more than everybody. This is why we are where we have found ourselves today. It is the government that is delaying implementation for obvious reason that it is not ready to pay what is reasonable to workers.”