The Federal Government has blamed what it called “unrealistic” demand from senior civil servants as being responsible for the delay in the implementation of the 30,000 new minimum wage.
The Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita, made this disclosure while fielding questions from journalists at the opening ceremony 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.
She said President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration 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 new the 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 labour union and public service to arrive at a consequential adjustment.
“There were a few not very realistic demands from the unions and so as not to continue delaying the implementation of the well thought out and clear policy of the president, we have to go ahead and seek his approval for the implementation while we continue discussion on the consequential adjustment,” she said.
Negotiation between the Federal Government and the Joint National Public Negotiation Council (JNPSNC) broke down two weeks ago because of differences in percentage increase in the salaries of workers.
While the Federal Government representatives in the technical committee set up to negotiate the consequential increase had proposed 9.5 per cent salary increase for workers on Grade Levels 07 to 14 and five per cent increase for employees on Grade Levels 15 to 17, labour representatives demanded for 30 per cent salary increase for workers on Grade Levels 7 to 14 and 25 per cent for workers on Grade Levels 15 to 17.
The government, through the Chairman of the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission, Richard Egbule, last week announced the approval with immediate effect of payment of the new minimum wage of N30, 000 for federal public service workers currently earning wages below the new approved benchmark.
The breakdown in the negotiation and Egbule’s announcement prompted the JNPSNC to write a letter to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustaph, where it was stated that the reluctance of government’s representatives on the minimum wage implementation committee to reopen negotiation with labour was an indication that government was not ready to pay the new minimum wage to workers.
The SGF is expected to meet with members of the Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council on Wednesday in Abuja to discuss issues that led to the breakdown of negotiation between the Federal Government and the council on the implementation of N30, 000 new minimum wage.