The Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN), on Wednesday urged the Federal Government to set up a tripartite committee to negotiate the N56,000 proposed as new minimum wage by Organised Labour
Mr Alade Lawal, Secretary General of ASCSN, who droped this hint in Lagos stated that both the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) had harmonised their positions and presented N56,000 as its proposal to the Federal Government.
It could be recalled that the current minimum wage was passed into law in February 2011, which increased the then minimum wage from N7,500 monthly to N18,000 monthly.
He stated that in 2015, government and labour had agreed in principle that the salaries of workers should be beefed up.
According to him, “At the meeting, it was agreed that the two major organised labour central unions
should put up a concrete demand to the government, which we did. Also, the issue of a review of the minimum wage came up again since the last negotiation in 2011 and it is usually reviewed every five years.
“Unfortunately, the drop in the price of crude oil in the international market and the challenge of foreign exchange affected everything and labour had to tarry a while.”
Secretary General, noted that the two labour central unions have harmonised their positions and are presenting a demand of N56, 000 to the federal government for negotiation.
He said that the letter has been dropped with the federal government and that organised labour has been waiting for the government to set up a tripartite committee to meet, negotiate and agree on a new national minimum wage, stressing that it was time to upgrade the salaries of workers because the N18,000 could no longer meet the economic needs of the people.
“Things are tight and the money cannot now buy enough food for the workers. We are also appealing to the state governments to be represented when the platform for negotiation is inaugurated.
“If all the states are represented and agreement is reached, we will be sure that the new national minimum wage would be binding on all,’’ he explained.
On salary disparity, the union scribe said that if the minimum wage agreement was signed, the adjustment would be able to take care of the disparity, saying that the government should endeavour to retrieve a white paper which showed that a committee on the harmonisation of salaries in the public sector had been set up, to enable all workers of equal value in the public service attract the same salary.
Lawal said that whatever amount would be arrived at as the new salary would help to address the issue of salary disparity in the public sector.
He appealed to the government to address the issues earlier presented to it, to make the economy favourable to the people.