The Minister of Labor and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, has stated that the Nigerian Federal Government would soon announce a salary increase for civil and public officials in order to mitigate the effects of growing inflation.
He made this statement to media at the State House following a private meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
Ngige stated that the Presidential Committee on Salaries had already begun its evaluation and was planning to announce salary adjustments in the coming new year.
Recall that the minister earlier gave a hint that the government will raise workers pay to reflect the country’s current economic reality brought on by inflation.
Asked whether he discussed the issue of salary increase with the president considering rising inflation, he said, “Yes, that’s what I am saying that the Presidential Committee on Salaries is working hand-in-hand with the National Salaries Incomes and Wages Commission.
“The commission is mandated by the Act establishing them to fix salaries, wages, and emoluments in not only the public service.”
“As we enter the New Year government will make some pronouncements in that direction,” he added.
According to Ngige, the year had been marked by labor issues beginning with the Academic Staff Union of the Universities (ASUU) strike in February, and continuing with other unions’ demands for better pay and working conditions.
“However, I’ve briefed him (president), we are doing some review within the Presidential Committee on Salaries, and discussions are ongoing. Hopefully, within available resources, the government can do something in the coming year,” he said.
Regarding the eight months’ worth of unpaid arrears requested by ASUU, the minister claimed that the issue is now before the court for appropriate interpretation of section 43 of the Trade Dispute Act, regarding the “no work, no pay” policy invoked by the government throughout the strike period.
“ASUU has not pronounced anything on their salaries anymore because it’s one of the issues that were referred to the National Industrial Court for determination, whether a worker who is on strike should be paid in violation of section 43 of the Trade Dispute Act which says when you go on strike, the consequences are these: number one, you will not be paid, you will not be compensated for not going to work to enable your employer keep the industry or enterprise afloat.
“That money should not be given to you, and that compensation should not be given. It’s there in Section 43 (1). There is a second leg to section 43; it also said that that period you were on strike will not count for you as part of your pensionable period of work in your service. That leg, the government has not touched it, but the leg of no-work-no-pay has been triggered off by that strike.”
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