Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja, Kemi Olaitan in Ibadan, Yinka Kolawole in Osogbo, Hammed Shittu in Ilorin, Francis Sardauna in Katsina, Daji Sani in Yola, and Benjamin Nworie in Abakaliki
The federal government has finally released the circular on the implementation of the N30,000 new minimum wage to federal workers, setting the stage for the labour unions in the states to commence the negotiations on consequential adjustment to the new wage, THISDAY’s investigation has revealed.
The circular, which originated from the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission, was released at the weekend.
While Katsina and Borno States chapters of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) have confirmed that they had received the circular of the new minimum wage consequential adjustment from the federal government, the Osun State NLC said the circular is expected to reach the state on Tuesday or Wednesday this week.
The President of the NLC, Mr. Ayuba Wabba, who confirmed the issuance of the circular at the weekend, said that with the development, state governments that have been waiting to use the federal government’s minimum wage consequential adjustment template to negotiate with their labour unions will now effectively commence negotiations with their workers.
He also said the release of the circular was an indication that the payment of the new minimum wage has commenced across board.
“The new minimum wage circular was just released yesterday (Friday) by the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission – that is the implementation circular for public service in the federal civil service. We received clear information that the circular was released Friday evening,” he explained.
When asked if the states have been availed of copies of the minimum wage implementation circular, Wabba said that the leadership of the labour movement is following up, adding that it would be made available to them.
According to Wabba the minimum wage consequential adjustment deal reached at the federal level is the benchmark that is supposed to guide state governments and other private sector employers of labour to also reach agreement with their workers.
He also said that the circular directed that implementation will take effect from April 18, the day President Muhammadu Buhari signed the new minimum wage bill into law.
Wabba said now that the circular for federal workers are out, labour will follow-up and ensure that states get copies to guide their negotiations.
“State branches of the NLC, Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the Public Service Joint Negotiating Councils (PSJNC) are working assiduously with the state governments as a team and in many states process are ongoing.
“We are following up. It is our duty to make the circular available to states and we will do that. Once the process starts, you will see that it will move from state to state until it is concluded,” he said.
He cited Lagos, Katsina and Kaduna as states where the process of negotiations has already begun.
Wabba assured workers that the leadership of the various centres, NLC, TUC and the Joint Negotiating Council were collectively working and monitoring the process to see that every worker gets the new minimum wage.
He said it was not only in the public sector that the minimum wage issue was being taken up, adding that the private sector employers were also engaged in negotiations to comply with New Minimum Wage Act.
The NLC president said that states have expressed the commitment to pay the new minimum wage except two states, adding that labour intends to dialogue further with affected states and make them understand that it has capacity to do some level of engagement.
Under the agreement reached between federal government and representatives of labour, core civil servants on Grade Level 7 will get 23.2 per cent adjustment; Grade Level 8 (20 per cent), Grade Level 9 (19 per cent), Grade Levels 10-14 (16 per cent) and Grade Levels 15-17 (14 per cent).
Other workers on Grade Le