September 20, (THEWILL) – The Federal Government has said it would soon embark on the readjustment of salaries and allowances of civil servants to bring it in line with economic realities in the country.
Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, disclosed this on Monday, in Abuja, while addressing members of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) at a public presentation of a publication titled, “Contemporary History of Working Class Struggles”.
Ngige stated that the increment in the minimum wage was necessary due to the current global inflation that has impacted on citizens’ purchasing power.
President Muhammadu Buhari, in 2019, signed Minimum Wage Act into law. However, many States, according to labour leaders, are yet to implement the law of paying their respective workers N30,000.
Ngige said, “The inflation is worldwide, we shall adjust the minimum wage in conformity with what is happening and much more important, the 2019 Minimum Wage Act has a new clause for a review.
“That adjustment has started with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), because the stage they are with their primary employers, the Ministry of Education, is a Collective Bargaining Agreement, CBA, negotiations.
“Under the principles of offer and acceptance, which is that of Collective Bargaining, ASUU can say let’s look at the offer they gave us and make a counter offer, but they have not done that, if they do that, we are bound to look at their offer, these are the ingredients of collective negotiations.”
On the ongoing impasse between the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Ngige, who defended the government’s decision to refer the dispute to the National Industrial Court for adjudication said the measure became necessary since ASUU appeared implacable and negotiations failed.
He said government adhered strictly to the dictates of labour laws by allowing the matter to be decided at court.
According to the Minister, there was the need to correct the erroneous impression that the agreement with ASUU being discussed was that of the 2009, adding the 2009 agreement had long been renegotiated between 2013-2020 under the former President Goodluck Jonathan-led administration.
He further said action has been progressively taken on the Memoradum of Understanding resulting from the agreement and that the federal government only has one area left to be resolved which he said was the issue of the review of salaries and conditions of service.
Ngige blamed intractable nature of some of the labour disputes the country had witnessed in recent timers to inadequate knowledge of labour laws and rules of engagement in collective bargaining.
The Minister also disclosed that the government was planning to convert one of the institutes under his ministry – Michael Imoudu Institute of Labour Studies located in Ilorin, Kwara State capital, to a degree-awarding institution to help prepare labour leaders and employers on the tenets dispute resolution.