The Federal Government says it will soon make a pronouncement on salary increase for civil servants to meet up with the economic realities in the country occasioned by inflation.
Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, made this known while fielding questions from State House correspondents in Abuja
The minister said already the Presidential Committee on Salaries had embarked on a review of salaries of workers in the country.
According to him, the committee is expected to come up with salary adjustment in 2023.
The minister had recently hinted that the government would adjust workers salaries to cushion the effect of rising costs of living in the country.
“Yes, 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.
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.
“So they have the matrix to do the evaluation. They are working with the Presidential Committee on Salaries chaired by the finance ministry and I am the co-chair to look at the demands of the workers.
”Outside this, I said discussions on that evaluation are ongoing.”
On whether a time line has been fixed for implementation of new salary increase, Ngige said: ”As we enter the new year government will make some pronouncements in that direction.”
Ngige described 2022 as a year of “industrial dispute”.
“It’s a year we can call a year of industrial dispute starting from the February’s 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.
“And asking for wage increase can also be understandable because of what inflation had done in the economy and the attendant cost of living for people who have to be workers in the public sector.
According to him, in the private sector employers have managed their affairs better, saying this may be due to efficient management of their finances.
He added that the management could also do collective bargaining very easily with their workers.
“The banking sector, Food and beverages and finance insurance everywhere. So there is calm there. We didn’t have the desired calmness on the government’s side because of the government’s finances.
However, we are doing some review within the Presidential Committee on Salaries, and discussions are ongoing.
”The doctors are discussing with the ministry of health, insurance people in the public sector discussing and there is a general calmness.
”Hopefully, within available resources, the government can do something in the coming year.”
On the position of government on the eight and half months of outstanding salaries the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) is demanding for, Ngige said:
”For now the matter is 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.
”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 on whether a worker who is on strike should be paid in violation of section 43 of the Trade Dispute Act.
”The Act 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 the 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.
So, we are asking the court to look at it.”