Organised Labour in Nigeria has issued another ultimatum to the Nigerian Federal Government to Implement N30,000 as minimum wage by December.
Sources within the major labour unions have also indicated that the nationwide strike suspended by the workers may resume in the next two weeks if the Federal Government continues to drag its feet on the matter.
This was conveyed during a meeting of the National Executive council of organised labour in Abuja yesterday, led by the President of Trade Union Congress (TUC), Bobboi Bala Kaigama and the Secretary General of the Association of Senior Civil Servant of Nigeria (ASCSN), Bashir Alade Lawal.
Both union leaders warned the Federal Government that Labour would not accept less than the N30,000 agreed upon during the meeting of the tripartite committee as Nigerian workers wait for the President to forward an executive bill to the National Assembly regarding the proposed new minimum wage.
According to the President of TUC, Kaigama, the expectation of labour is that implementation of the new minimum wage would not exceed December, 2018.
Kaigama warned further that an attempt to reduce the figure or delay the implementation of the agreed sum could result in dire consequences;
“The Federal Government is advised to avoid any action that can delay or truncate the process of enacting the new Minimum Wage Act as the consequences of allowing that to happen can be very devastating.
It is worthy of note that the single most important issue agitating the mind of an average Nigerian worker today is that of the new national minimum wage, the report of which was presented to Mr. President on Tuesday 6th November, 2018. It is apt to state that against all odds, the tripartite committee that negotiated the new minimum wage was able to scale all hurdles and agreed to the sum of N30,000 as the new minimum wage for the country.
It is on this premise that I strongly want to appeal to the Federal Government to fast-track the process of enacting the new national minimum wage into law.
Our expectation is that the government should be able to complete the entire process before the end of this year so that workers who have waited for so long can begin to enjoy a new lease on life provided by the newly agreed minimum wage.” He said.
Kaigama also reiterated that the core civil service was the least paid within Nigeria’s public service despite being the instrument of policy implementation and as such the engine house of the country.
According to Kaigama, even though civil servants possess the same qualifications and experience as their counterparts in the parastatals and agencies the salaries of these other employees are, in most cases, three times more than that of officers in the core ministries.
“This situation has been made worse by the fact that since 2010 when salary relativity was carried out in the core civil service, no salary increment has been granted to civil servants except for the N900 monthly that was added to the emoluments of senior officers across board after N18,000 was approved as the national minimum wage in 2011.” He added
Kaigama’s counterpart in the Senior Civil Servants Association said organised labour was holding on to the words of the President who promised to send an executive bill to the National Assembly as soon as possible.
“The way we interpret the president speech is that he said he is going to forward Executive Bill to the National Assembly, and on that we stand. We are not going to accept five kobo drop on that N30,000; we are not going to accept it. We are not going to accept anything less than N30,000. Like I said earlier on, we have mobilised already, we only suspended (the strike). So, we will pick off from where we left. It is not going to be a difficult thing,” he said.