The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, said the Federal Government had yet to commence total implementation of the new minimum wage of N30,000 to all categories of workers because organised labour mistakenly saw consequential adjustment in salary as total salary review.
Ngige spoke on Thursday when the Director General of the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association, NECA, Timothy Olawale, led a delegation from the association to the minister’s office in Abuja. Also at the event was the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo (SAN).
This is coming a few days before negotiation begins again between the Federal Government and organised labour after labour issued a notice that strike could be imminent if the Federal Government failed to accept its demands on the consequential adjustment in workers’ salary as a result of the new minimum wage on October 16, 2019.
According to Ngige, the Federal Government had set up a committee that would prepare the ground for total salary review, which would be done in 2020, adding that Federal Government’s personnel budget had risen astronomically from N1.88tr to N3.08tr between 2016 and 2020.
Ngige said, “Today, we are yet to conclude on the matter of the new minimum wage. This is because in the public sector which is mainly governmental; state, local government and Federal Government, there has not been a conclusive end to it.
“As we speak, the issue of consequential adjustment is the main issue. The Minimum Wage Act was signed by President Muhammadu Buhari on April 18, 2019. From that day, the National Minimum Wage came to effect. All employers of labour in the public and private sector are expected to obey the law of the land and make sure that the least paid worker in the lowest rung of the ladder receives N30,000 minimum wage.
“However, the private sector is not really so much in trouble. From N18,000, they (private companies) have graduated with some paying more than N30,000 as minimum wage. We have problem with the public service and we are battling to see how we can weather the storm.
“The main issue is consequential adjustment and I have talked to the other leg of the tripartite (organised labour) to understand that consequential adjustment is not synonymous with total wage review. It is an adjustment that you do consequentially to move the last man on the rung of the ladder to N30,000. By doing so, you impede on other salary grade levels and therefore, you must consequentially move them up.
“Consequential movement up does not mean that you do a percentage of the former minimum wage to the present one which is 67 per cent. We have agreed on that but the issue is that they (labour) have mistakenly bounded the two together; the issue of consequential movement and the issue of total wage review.”