Minimum wage saga: strike looms as government/Workers meeting ended in a deadlock

Workers in Nigeria  under the auspices of the Joint Public Sector Negotiating Council are warming up for a nationwide strike  as a meeting between the Federal government and the unions  ended in a deadlock on Monday.

The negotiations on the consequential adjustment which was earlier adjourned to September 4  suffered another setback as both parties failed to reach an agreement.

Despite minor adjustments in their separate positions, government and organized Labour failed to agree .

At Monday’s meeting which was chaired by the Head of Service of the federation, Winifred Oyo-ita, both government and the union leaders only made minor adjustment to their earlier positions with the government moving from its earlier position of 9.5 percent to 11 percent for grade levels seven to 14 and 6.5 percent from 5.5 percent for levels 15 to 17.

The workers have insisted that the government adjust salaries of workers on grade levels 07 to 14 by 30 percent and those on levels 15 to 17 by 25 percent.

Chairman of the labour team and National Auditor of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) , Simon Anchaver said, workers stepped down to 29 from 30 percent for grade levels 7 to 14 and 24 from 25 percent for levels 15 to 17.

According to him, the Joint Public Service Negotiating Council have resolved to write to the Nigeria Labour Congress, (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress, (TUC) on their advice on a possible industrial action

He accused the government of foot dragging on the process, saying the action of the government is an open invitation for industrial action, since workers are already engulfed in fear and agitations whether their accumulated arrears will be paid when talks are finally concluded.

He however said that the meeting decided that the two positions be presented to the President for further action.

Also, Secretary of the Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council, Slade Lawal said organised labour will decide on a next line of action towards the issue of the minimum wage, saying in due time, Nigerians would be informed.

Lawal said: “the meeting is deadlocked; we found out that the Federal Government officials are not serious about it at all.

“We are suspecting fowl play or a hidden agenda somewhere. So, we have decided to report the development to our principals, including the Labour unions, Nigerians will be adequately briefed of our next line of action very shortly.”