New Minimum Wage: Civil servants decry delay

New Minimum Wage: Civil servants decry delay

New minimum wage: civil servants decry delayCivil servants have decried the delay in payment of approved salary adjustments for civil servants on the consolidated salary structure, as well as the prolonged minimum wage negotiations.

The civil servants spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Abuja.

Dr Uche Anune commended President Bola Tinubu for approving the increase of between 25 per cent and 35 per cent salary increase for civil servants on the six consolidated salary structures. He, however, urged the government to expedite action on its implementation to help the workers ameliorate the present economic hardship.

“It is a good thing that President Bola Tinubu appreciates that there is the need to provide some palliatives by way of adjustment,  and harmonisation of salaries of public sector workers at the Federal level.

“However, I wish Mr President can expedite action in that regard because, as it is now, many Federal Government workers are passing through difficult times arising from certain policy adjustments.

“I know that it is usually not very easy to negotiate and agree on sensitive issues like the minimum wage, the two parties, the Federal Government and the Labour unions, have sound arguments,” he said.

According to him, the president could be considering implications of salary adjustment and its sustainability, as well as the ability of state governments to pay.

“It is good that they are driving an inclusive approach to the negotiation process.

“But salary adjustment for workers is long overdue. I call on the president to take urgent steps to ensure that the minimum wage impasse is resolved as quickly as possible.

“While workers continue to wait for salary adjustment, issues bothering on family expenses are not waiting. They are daily requirements.

” The long wait for a living wage in the midst of rising cost of goods and services is actually affecting the productivity of workers,” Anune said.

He said that the N250,000 minimum wage figure of the labour unions should be acceptable to all workers, since the unions represent the workers.

Another civil servant, Mr Joseph  Edeh, said that the delay in implementation of the salary adjustment and the prolonged minimum wage negotiations were unfortunate.

According to Edeh, what Nigerians are going through presently does not warrant such delay.

“And the communication gap is fuelling a lot of suspicion. Nobody knows the reason for the delay.

” There is the need for better communication so as not to put Nigerians in the dark.

” The labour unions have done well, and they need to be encouraged as they try to negotiate a decent wage for the workers,” he said.

Mrs Dorcas Jonah appealed to the Federal Government to “try and do the needful” by effecting payment of the salary adjustment.

According to her, the prevailing economic hardship is taking its toll on civil servants and their families.

“A lot of civil servants would have planned on the money, and it would have gone a long way to help those who have children going back to school.

“So many civil servants now survive on loans. Delaying the payment is not helpful at all,” she said.

She urged the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), and the TradeUnionCongress (TUC) not to relent in their struggle for a decent living wage for the Nigerian worker.

“There are  plethora of things to agitate for. The price of everything has skyrocketed. The labour unions should not relent,” she said.

Angela Atabo, another civil servant, said that the delay in implementation of the various increases in salaries is  counterproductive to the workers.

“On workers’ day, we had hope that a new minimum wage would be announced, but our hopes were dashed because the issue was not even mentioned.

“The 25 per cent and 35 per cent salary adjustment was announced, and civil servants have been planning on it

“We can only urge the government to expedite action on implementation,” she said.

Meanwhile,  the Director of Press,  Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF),  Mr Bawa Mokwa,  said that the wage adjustment was awaiting cash backing for implementation.

Mokwa urged civil servants to exercise a little more patience as all issues relating to salary adjustment and minimum wage would soon be resolved.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that asides from negotiations for  a new minimum wage, the Federal Government had approved between 25 per cent and 35 per cent salary increase for civil servants on the six consolidated salary structures.

The salary increase, announced on April 30, the eve of the workers’ day  celebration, was contained in a statement issued by Emmanuel Njoku, head of press, at the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission.

The statement said the increase would take effect from Jan. 1.

The six consolidated salary structures affected are consolidated public service salary structure (CONPSS); consolidated research and allied institutions salary structure (CONRAISS), and consolidated police salary structure (CONPOSS).

Others are consolidated para-military salary structure (CONPASS); consolidated intelligence community salary structure (CONICCS); and consolidated armed forces salary structure .

The federal government also approved an increase in pension of between 20 per cent and 28 per cent for pensioners, on the defined benefits scheme with respect to the six consolidated salary structures.

Health workers, academic and non-academic staff working in federal tertiary institutions are not included in this latest salary increase.

In July 2023, the federal government had approved a 25 per cent salary increase for health workers under the consolidated health salary structure (CONHESS), and consolidated medical salary structure (CONMESS).

In September 2023, the federal government also announced a percentage increase in salaries for academic and non-academic staff of all tertiary institutions across the country.