Minimum wage negotiation: Workers set to embark on strike

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Workers, under the aegis of the Joint Public Sector Negotiating Council (JPSNC), are threatening to go on strike as a meeting of the Federal Government and the unions ended yesterday in a deadlock.
The negotiations on the consequential adjustment, which was earlier adjourned till September 4 to allow the government’s team brief President Muhammadu Buhari, was rescheduled for September 16.
But it suffered another setback as both parties failed to reach an agreement, despite minor adjustments in their separate positions.
It was gathered that at yesterday’s meeting, which was chaired by the Head of Service of the Federation (HOSF), Mrs Winifred Oyo-Ita, both government and the union leaders only made minor adjustments to their earlier positions.
The government moved from its earlier position of 9.5 per cent to 11 per cent for Grade Levels Seven to 14 and 6.5 per cent from 5.5 per cent for Levels 15 to 17.

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The workers insisted that the government adjust salaries of workers on Grade Levels Seven to 14 by 30 per cent and those on Levels 15 to 17 by 25 per cent.
Chairman of Labour’s team and National Auditor of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Simon Anchaver said workers stepped down to 29 per cent, from 30 per cent, for Grade Levels Seven to 14 and down to 24 from 25 per cent for Levels 15 to 17
According to him, the negotiating council resolved to write to the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) on their advice about a possible industrial action.
Also, Secretary of the negotiating council, Slade Lawal said organised labour would decide on the next line of action on the minimum wage.
The labour leader said 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 foul 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 about our next line of action very shortly.”
Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, recently told reporters that President Muhammadu Buhari had directed that the process of negotiations be concluded as soon as possible to enable workers begin to enjoy the new wages.

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