The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has dispelled ongoing reports that negotiations between the organised labour and the Technical Committee on Consequential Adjustment of the new minimum wage had stopped.
Mr Ayuba Wabba, the NLC National President, said in Abuja on Thursday that the negotiations were still ongoing.
He said even although the NLC and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) were not directly involved in the negotiations, they would step in if any disagreement occurred.
It would be recalled that the new minimum wage bill was signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari in April.
However, deliberations were ongoing as the issue of relativity/consequential adjustment of salaries still persisted.
The Federal Government had on May 14 inaugurated the relativity/Consequential Adjustment Committee which in turn set up a Technical Sub-Committee to work out the template for the adjustment of salaries of Public Service Employees.
However, with negotiations resuming on Aug. 14, Wabba noted that Nigerian workers had waited so long for the new minimum wage.
Wabba said people would want to see an end for its full implementation, adding that it was the desire of the organised labour that this became a reality.
“In spite of that the NLC and TUC are not directly involved during the process of consequential adjustment, the process is ongoing; because I read in the papers of how people were saying it had stopped.
“The report that I read from the Joint Negotiating Council is that they are meeting, and if there is any stalemate we will be informed and will step in to assist and all the details of their discussions have been made public.’’
Wabba said that the delay on the issue was not caused by the NLC.
“For anybody on that table to come and say that labour is the one delaying the process he/she is not saying the obvious.
“This is because I learnt that the person that made the statement is the chairman of the technical committee; so clearly speaking, I think it is not in good faith.
“I think also that workers are becoming very concerned, including us because the process must actually have an end where workers will benefit.
“How can a worker or unions that are at the receiving end be the ones delaying the process.
“`For us as a union we wanted this money to be in workers pockets long before now.’’
Chief Richard Egbule, the Chairman, National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission, attributed the delay in the implementation of the “consequential adjustment” of the N30,000 new minimum wage to the unrealistic demands of labour unions.
Egbule explained that the current demand of the labour unions would raise the total wage bill too high and that was why government could not accept their proposed salary adjustments.
“Labour is 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.
“However, the unions have refused this offer, saying that because the increase in minimum wage from 18,000 to N30, 000 was 66 per cent, therefore they want 66 per cent increment across the board.
“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.”
Responding to the claim, Secretary of the Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council, Alade Lawal, said the government was trying to force labour to accept its proposal, adding that such would only make workers poorer.
Fidelity Bank encourages wealth creation
The Fidelity Bank is encouraging customers to save more in order to create wealth for themselves and the society.
The bank on Thursday gave cash reward to some loyal savings account customers in Jos under its savings loyalty scheme.
Mr Steven Uchendu, Jos Branch Leader of the bank, said that the initiative was in line with Federal Government’s financial inclusion efforts.
“This is in line with the Federal Government financial inclusion drive and a way to say thank you to our esteemed customers who chose Fidelity Bank out of the 23 banks in the country.
“We encourage market women, school children, boys and girls to save because by saving you create wealth,” he stated.
The branch leader said that in order to encourage customers the save, the savings loyal scheme was developed.
According to him, customers were in every quarter of the year given rewards ranging from N150, 000 for children and students accounts to N500,000 for other accounts.
He revealed that the bank had in the last two years dolled out N10 million to its loyal customers in Jos.
Uchendu advised those who wanted to benefit from the gesture to open an account with at least N2000, top it monthly with N2000 or more to automatically qualify for the draw.
The branch leader explained that the draws were usually done in a transparent manner in Lagos in the presence of all the regulatory agencies.
“We have different products; there is one we call helping hand project and through it we have executed more than 10 projects on the Plateau including a motorized borehole a Plateau State Polytechnic.
“We have remodeled and renovated a whole block at Naraguta Hostel in the University of Jos.
“And today we are rewarding customers under our programme called customer loyalty scheme,” he added.
Miss Ogodo Okwori, a beneficiary of N500, 000 thanked Fidelity Bank for the gesture.
Okwori said that the gesture has encouraged her to continue save.
“I usually save whatever I have, little did I know that I will be rewarded like this,” she said.
Miss Valerie Uchendu, a student and a beneficiary of N150, 000 promised to help spread the good news to her friends.