The Federal Government and organised labour have reached an agreement on the implementation of the new minimum wage after three days of talks that ran through nights and ended in the wee hours of mornings.
At a meeting which started around 7 pm on Thursday and ended after 2 am on Friday, both sides finally agreed on the percentage increase for grade levels seven to 17.
The adjustments for the various wages structures were decided as follows:
COMESS wage structure
Grade level seven= 23 per cent, level 8=20 per cent, level 9=19 per cent, level 10 -14 = 16 per cent, level 15-17=14 per cent.
CONHES, CONRRISE, CONTISS, etc
Level 7= 22.2 per cent
Level 8-14 = 16 per cent
Level 15-17 = 10.5 per cent
The meeting also increased the salaries of military and paramilitary officers, but the percentages were kept confidential.
According to the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, the details of the increase will be communicated to the military and paramilitary organisations through the appropriate channels.
Dr Ngige expects the adjustments to be implemented immediately.
The Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Mr Festus Keyamo, had first tweeted about a breakthrough in the talks around 10 pm on Thursday.
The talks between the Federal Government and labour leaders which started on Monday had helped to prevent workers from embarking on a nationwide industrial action.
After failing to reach an agreement with the government on the full implementation of the new minimum wage, more than five months after it was signed into law, labour issued a two-week ultimatum to the government.
The source of disagreement was the percentage for the consequential wage increase for workers based on the new minimum of N30,000.
Organised labour had initially demanded a 66 percent salary increase for workers on levels seven to 17. It later reduced the percentage downward to 29 percent for levels seven – 14 and 24 percent for levels 15 to 17.
The Federal Government, however, offered to pay 11 percent for workers on grade levels seven to 14 and 6.5 percent for those on levels 15 to 17.
In rejecting the government’s offer, labour leaders argued that the percentages being offered by the government would be ineffective for workers in the light of the currency devaluation, fuel price hike, value-added tax increase and electricity tariff increase all of which occurred in recent years with the minimum wage at N18,000.
Two days to the expiration of the ultimatum, both sides returned to the table, first averting a strike and coming to a compromise for the full implementation of the new minimum wage.