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The Federal Government on Monday explained that the delay in the implementation of the N30,000 new minimum wage was because labour unions were unwilling to compromise their stand.
Following the approval of the minimum wage in April, the government had offered workers a ‘consequential adjustment’ of 9.5 per cent for level 7 to 14.
But the unions had rejected the proposal, saying that because the increase in minimum wage from 18,000 to N30, 000 was 66 per cent, therefore they wanted 66 per cent increment across board.
Speaking to newsmen in Abuja on Monday, the Chairman, National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission, Chief Richard Egbule said Labour was asking for consequential adjustment and government in its wisdom had made budgetary provision for an adjustment of N10, 000 across the board for those already earning above N30, 000 per month.
He said, “We told them that the minimum wage was not raised from N18, 000 to N30, 000 through percentage increase but as a result of consideration of economic factors including ability to pay.
“However, we said that if they want consequential adjustments in percentage terms, we will use a percentage that when applied will not exceed what has been provided for in the budget.
“And then five per cent from level 15 to 17. Labour countered the offer and proposed 30 per cent increase for level 7 to 14 and 25 per cent for level 15 to 17.
“One point we keep repeating is, it will be unfair that because you gave the person earning minimum wage N12, 000, you give a level 17 officer almost N100, 000 if you apply 25 per cent,’’ he said.
He urged labour to come to a compromise while they prepare to fight for the harmonization of salaries.
“Labour is currently stretching out and eating up the time that people could have used in benefiting from the adjustment because the new minimum wage was implemented since April.
“My advice is for labour to accept the terms for now and prepare to fight for the harmonization of salaries that is coming up. Harmonization of salaries will take care of this issue.
“The committee has already been formed and awaiting inauguration. I want them (labour) to know this and liberate us from this unnecessary log jam,” Egbule said.