NLC bemoans delay in negotiations for new minimum wage

Posted by News Express | 22 November 2017 | 1,446 times

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•NLC President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on Tuesday expressed regrets that the negotiations for a new national minimum wage were yet to commence even as the economic fundamentals were changing.

 

NLC President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, said at the ongoing Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, that the prevailing economic scenario when the agitation for a national minimum wage started had changed. 

“It is a matter of concern that up till now, the negotiations for a new minimum wage is yet to start. As at the time we tabled our demands, the exchange rate of naira to the dollar was about N150 but today it is around N360.

“It is our desire that negotiations should commence in earnest as the economic scenario has been very harsh for the Nigerian workers. We urge the government to fast-track the process,” Wabba said.

Speaking earlier, Mrs Didi Walson-Jack, Permanent Secretary at the Service Welfare Office at Office of Head of Civil Service of the Federation, said that the Federal Government has adopted a new approach to improve welfare of civil servants.

She said that under the new approach, the government sees the welfare of its workforce as a priority by ensuring regular consultation with labour leaders to reduce friction at the work place.

“It is the belief of the Federal Government that Nigerian workers have a right to a safe and conducive working environment as well as enhanced welfare package, including regular payment of salaries, it is a right and not a privilege.

“However, labour leaders must show understanding in view of the economic challenges before us. Our new approach is to see government and labour as part of the team working for the delivery of service to Nigerians. It is no longer ‘we against them’.

“We are all part of the team playing together in the same team and we shall win together and we should encourage civil servants to change their attitude to work and justify their salaries,” Walson-Jack said.

In his address to the delegates, Governor Seriake Dickson noted that the nation was going through challenging economic times, which has made it difficult for various tiers of government to meet their obligations to the workforce.

He said that the collaboration with labour in dealing with the over-bloated wage bill resulted to the reduction of the state’s wage bill from N6 billion to N4 billion monthly

He explained that workers welfare was a priority in his administration, adding that the government holds regular consultations with labour leaders on the ongoing public service reforms in the state.

Dickson said that the state government was not responsible for the salary backlog in the local government system, which ranges from 10 to 16 months.

“We have never tampered with local government funds in Bayelsa. I do not know of other states. But here, once the allocation comes, the Commissioner of Local Government ensures that the council funds are transferred directly to them.

“The fact is that due to the reduction in revenues accruable to them, they simply cannot meet their salary obligations and sometime we augment to assist them. So the views that government is responsible for the arrears in the local government system is a blackmail,” Dickson said.


Source: News Express

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