N30,000 Minimum Wage: Payment Delayed As Federal Government, Labour Disagree On Key Issue

Nigerian workers expecting to start enjoying the new N30,000 minimum wage, may have to wait longer as the committee set up by the federal government to negotiate a new template in the adjustment in salaries of civil servants earning above the new wage is yet to reach an agreement.

The new minimum wage was signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari on April 18 and employers were expected to immediately commence payment of the new wage.

According to Leadership, a committee chaired by the head of the civil service of the federation, Winifred Oyo-Ita, to negotiate the consequential adjustment in salaries arising from the new national minimum wage, was, however, inaugurated by the federal government on May 14.

The secretary to the government of the federation and alternate chairman of the committee, Boss Mustapha, while inaugurating the panel, said it had four weeks to complete its assignment with the inaugural meeting scheduled to hold on May 20, 2019.

However, the committee is yet to come out with its report, with the four weeks already elapsed. According to reports, the process has been stalled because of a disagreement between members. Labour is canvassing for a percentage increase for workers from level 1 step 2, to level 17 step 11, while the federal government wants a fixed amount across board.

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During a chat with journalists at the ongoing International Labour Conference (ILC) going on the Geneva, Switzerland, the president of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), Kaigama Bobboi, made labour’s position public. He said:

“We are concerned in the sense that it is one thing to sign the law of minimum wage. But one thing we should all take note is that as soon as we finished this last leg, the effective date of the national minimum wage is the day the president signed it into law and be rest assured that all employers of labour will pay arrears.

“What we want to work now is that Mr President gave us 4 weeks to sort out this thing. But along the way after setting up a technical committee, we discovered that there are some hitches, so we decided to go back and prepare some scenarios, look at it and agree on one template that will cut across level 1 step 2, to level 17 step 11.

“Government is of the opinion that we fix an amount across. But to us, it doesn’t make sense. It’s not scientific. We are advocating for percentage increment. Take a percentage. Even if you are going to stagger, do the staggering but you must use a percentage across board. Those are the hitches we have now.”

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President Buhari had previously said that the salaries of all those earning above the new minimum wage will undergo review.

Speaking to the technical advisory committee on the implementation of new national minimum wage in Abuja, President Buhari revealed that the process of the review would take off after the passage of the new minimum wage bill.

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