December 28, 2022
The Federal Government said it would soon make a pronouncement on salary increase for the civil and public servants to cushion the effect of high inflation on the workers.
The government said already, the Presidential Committee on Salaries was doing a review and expected to come up with salary adjustment in the new year.
Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, disclosed this to State House Correspondents after he had a closed-door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Ngige, who said that he was at the seat of power to discus exhaustively issues concerning his ministry, including employment and productivity, described 2022 as a year of industrial dispute.
Asked whether he discussed the issue of salary increase with the President considering the 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 it to fix salaries, wages, and emoluments in not only the public service.
“If you want their assistance and you are in the private sector, they will also assist you. They have what is called the template for remuneration, for compensation. So, if you work, you get compensated, if you don’t work, you will not be compensated.”
On whether a time line had been fixed for implementation of new salary increase, he said:”As we enter the new year, government will make some pronouncements in that direction.”
On why he was at theState House, Senator Ngige said he came to brief the President on the activities of his ministry as the year comes to an end.
According to him, “I came to brief Mr. President, you know the year is coming to an end and we have to look at our 2022 exhaustively. Part of my ministry, we are to discuss labour issues, and what we were able to do . First, we look at the employment situation in the country and what we have achieved and what we have not achieved.
“Employment is high. I had to tell him the successful ones we are in. We also had a briefing on productivity viz a viz the various industrial disputes we had in 2022.
“It’s a year we can call a year of industrial dispute starting from the February Academic Staff Union of the Universities, ASUU, strike which was joined by other sister unions in the university system and even the people in the research institutes.
“And, thereafter, threats from various unions, including the medical doctors’ association and its youth wing, the National Association of Resident Doctors, JOHESU, which is also the Joint Health Sector Union all were asking for a wage increase.
“However, I’ve briefed him, we are doing some review within the Presidential Committee on Salaries, and discussions are ongoing. The doctors are discussing with the Ministry of Health, insuring people in the public sector and there is general calmness. Hopefully, within available resources, the government can do something in the coming year.”
On the position of government on the eight month’s outstanding salaries ASUU is requesting, he noted that for now, the matter was in court for proper interpretation of the Trade Dispute Act as it concerns no work, no pay policy invoked by the government during the strike period.
He said: “ASUU has not pronounced anything on their salaries anymore because it’s one of the issues that was 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, government has not touched it, but the leg of no-work-no-pay has been triggered off by that strike.”