By Daniel Atayi
A disagreement between the Federal Government and Organised Labour in the Public Service on the template to work out the consequential adjustment in wages may delay the implementation of the new National Minimum Wage.
President of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), Comrade Bobboi Kaigama said on the sideline of the International Labour Conference in Geneva, Switzerland that while the government wants an amount to be fixed across all levels, labour wants the adjustment to be done in percentages.
The immediate past Minister of Labour, Senator Chris Ngige in his last press conference as Minister, that the government will run into trouble in the implementation of the minimum wage if it carries out the consequential adjustment on a percentage basis as the government will not have the money to implement it.
The government has however set up a technical committee made up of representatives and officials of the Public Service Joint Negotiating Council to work out the template for the adjustment from grade level one step two to grade level 17.
Kaigama, who threw his weight behind the call for a universal minimum wage being canvassed by some world leaders at the 108th Session of the International Labour Conference, however, assured workers that whenever the template is finalised, the government will be obliged to pay arrears of the new wage.
He said: “We are concerned that the templates for the implementation of the new minimum wage are not yet out.
“It is one thing to sign the law prescribing minimum wage and another is implementations because there are two bodies in charge of negotiations.
“But as soon as we finish this last leg, the effective date of the law is the day the President signed the bill into law.
“Be rest assured that all employers of labour in Nigeria will have to pay for arrears. The President gave us one month to sort this out.
“But after setting up the technical committee, we discovered that there are hitches.
“So we decided to go back and prepare some scenarios, then back and look at them before agreeing on one which will cut across all levels in the service.
“Government is of the opinion that we fix an amount across, but we believe that is not scientific.
“We believe we should take a percentage and even if that means you have to stagger it.
“We are preparing scenarios and at the end of the day, we hope to arrive at something.”