The Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) has called for an end to the disparity of workers’ wages.
Concise News reports that SSANU’s National Public Relations Officer Abdussobur Salaam said this on Wednesday in Abuja at the first memorial lecture in honour of the late Adoro Obiageli of the National Mathematical Centre (NMC).
According to him, “We believe so much that there are too many inequalities in the country and that the absence of social justice has also been a major problem that has affected the nation.
“And the only solution is to establish a social justice in this country and bridge the inequality gap between the rich and the poor.
“The N30,000 new minimum wage we are talking about today is even grossly inadequate.
“This is because we have been able to discover that the minimum wage of N125 given to workers in 1981 is far better than the N30,000 that is being given now.
“Until we are able to move from the era of starvation wages to that of living wages that will be able to improve people’s lives and take care of their needs, we may not have progress in the country.”
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, has said that the junior public service workers employed by the Federal Government have started receiving the N30,000 minimum wage.
Concise News learned that Ngige disclosed this while speaking over the weekend in Enugu where he said that the payment to levels 1 to 6 commenced in August.
The Minister’s claim was corroborated by the National President of the Nigeria Civil Service Union (NCSU) and a member of the Joint Public Service Negotiating Council Lawrence Amaechi.
Ngige noted that the only issue at stake was the executive cadre of Grades level 7 to 17, which required a consequential adjustment that was still being negotiated.
The minister said, “Labour knows that inconsequential adjustment and even in collective bargaining, there are cardinal principles guiding CBA and part of the principles guiding CBA is the ability of employers to pay, because there is no need for employer going to agree on something he cannot pay and tomorrow, you are back to the negotiating table. So, that is what is there.
“Unfortunately for the government, after the agreement was signed into law by the President on April 18, by May 29, the cabinet was dissolved. So, the committee of government, government side negotiation was cancelled.
“The members were the Ministers of Finance, Budget and National Planning; Labour, Head of Service of the Federation and the Secretary to Federal Government (SGF).
“Everybody, except the Head of Service, was dissolved by implications. So, permanent secretaries by implications moved in to fill the gaps.
“And they were the people who started negotiating with the Joint Negotiating Council of Labour, because we have what is called Joint Negotiating Council (JNC), that is a public service council.
“This is because what we are now talking about are workers in the public service, not workers in the private sector.
“The private sector workers are supposed to do their own negotiation with their employers. But, negotiation with government workers, because public service is government, is what is now going on and which is stalemated.
“I have told you that we exited as ministers and so, the former committee did not have the original colour as it should be.
“Now that the cabinet has been formed, and even with the exit of Head of Service, that government committee will be reconstituted and plans are on for it to be reconstituted next week so that we can then engage JNC, Joint Negotiation Council of labour.
“We are not negotiating with the labour union executive simplicity because this does not concern every worker. It is workers in the public service, what you call the public sector. So, there is a difference and that difference is what I want the public to know. This is one.
“The second leg is that between Grade Level 1 Step 1 to Grade Level 6, there is a partial agreement already and the consequential adjustment has been worked out and the Federal Government has paid the August salary based on the minimum wage.
“August salary has been paid. That is the report the accountant-general gave us in a meeting.