NLC Dismisses FG’s Salary Increase, Calls it a “Waste of Time”, Demands N615,000 Living Wage

By Joke Kujenya

THE Federal Government of Nigeria has greenlit a salary increase ranging from 25% to 35% for civil servants under the remaining six Consolidated Salary Structures (CSS).

Head of Press at the National Salaries, Incomes, and Wages Commission (NSIWC), Mr. Emmanuel Njoke, announced this in Abuja on Tuesday.

The approved salary adjustments cover various sectors, including the Consolidated Public Service Salary Structure (CONPSS), Consolidated Research and Allied Institutions Salary Structure (CONRAISS), and others such as the Consolidated Police Salary Structure (COMPOSS), Consolidated Para-Military Salary Structure (CONPASS), Consolidated Intelligence Community Salary Structure (CONICCS), and Consolidated Armed Forces Salary Structure (CONAFSS).

Effective from January 1, the increases also extend to pensioners enrolled in the Defined Benefits Scheme, with pension hikes ranging from 20% to 28%.

Previously, salary hikes were implemented in tertiary education and health sectors, encompassing structures like the Consolidated University Academic Salary Structure (CONUASS), Consolidated Tertiary Institutions Salary Structure (CONTISS), and others.

Responding to inquiries, Njoku emphasized that there was no inappropriate timing for workers to benefit from governmental policies, as he also confirmed that the government would settle arrears dating back to January.

However, the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), has expressed skepticism about the move, with its Assistant General-Secretary, Chris Onyeka, labeling it “a waste of time.”

Onyeka contended that the commission lacked the authority to fix a national minimum wage.

Despite the announcement, some government officials and security personnel, speaking off-camera, expressed their concerns over potential unrest that may follow the announcement, alleging that union leaders were unreachable or avoiding contact, possibly to evade dialogue regarding planned protests.

Also, in stronger terms, the NLC President, Joe Ajaero, reiterated his call for a living wage of N615,000 for workers, stressing the necessity to meet basic needs without pushing individuals into undue poverty.

Speaking on Channels television in a recent interview, Ajaero criticized the federal government’s announced wage increase, labeling it as inadequate and misleading.

Highlighting the urgency of the matter, Ajaero noted that discussions for a new minimum wage were supposed to have been concluded following the expiration of the previous sum of N30,000 on April 18.

However, the failure of the FG to reconvene the meeting has left the issue unresolved.

He also adds that the Organised Labour has reached a consensus on N615,000 as the living wage for civil servants, aiming to cover essential expenses and prevent workers from drowning in poverty.

Breaking down the proposed living wage, he outlined various components, including housing, utilities, food, medical expenses, education, transportation costs, and many others.

Encouraging further scrutiny of the figures presented, Ajaero emphasized the importance of ensuring that workers’ basic needs are met without resorting to borrowing money to sustain themselves.

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