By G9ija

Finally, the Federal Government and organised labour have reached common grounds on salary increment for all the categories of workers in the federal civil service. 

The agreement, therefore, sets the tone for negotiations for workers at the state levels, as it sets the basic floor below no wage can go. The meeting, which was superintended by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, and assisted by Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Mr. Festus Keyamo (SAN), took place between October 9 and 18.The negotiations, which started on two levels, grade levels 7 to 14 and 15 to 17, was eventually broken into five levels- levels 07, 08, 09, 10 to 14 and 15 to 17.   

The consequential agreement was also broken into five groups. Group one- Consolidated Public Service Salary Structure (CONPSS), which comprises grade level 07 that got 23.2 per cent; grade level 08 has 20 per cent; grade level 09 with 19 per cent; grade level 10 to 14 got 16 per cent and grade level 15 to 17 got 14 per cent increment.   

For group two that comprises Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS), Consolidated Research and Allied Institutions Salary Structure (CONRAISS), Consolidated Tertiary Institutions Salary Structure II (CONTISS II), Consolidated University Academic Salary Structure (CONUASS) 11, Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CONMESS), Consolidated Tertiary Educational Institutions Salary Structure (CONTEDISS) and Consolidated Polytechnic and Colleges of Education Academic Salary Structure (CONPCASS), grade level 07 or equivalent got 23.2 per cent increment; grade level 08 to 14 moved up by 16 per cent and grade level 15 to 17 went up by 10.5 per cent. 
 
Meanwhile, the Trade Union Congress (TUC) has lauded the Federal Government team led by Ngige for finally arriving at figures that Labour was happy about, saying although the road to peace was tough and windy, it was gratifying that the end justified the means. 

President of TUC, Quadri Olaleye, said: “We commend the Head of Service of the Federation, Dr. Folashade Yemi-Esan, and her team for their sincerity. Though they argued that government cannot afford to meet our earlier demand of N30, 000 minimum wage across board, because of the economic situation in the country, but we made them understand that some people cannot be more Nigerian than the others. If we are tightening our belts, government should also do so.”
 
Giving further breakdown on the agreement, Olaleye explained that core civil servants on grade level 07 would get 23.2 per cent; grade level 08 gets additional 20 per cent; grade level 09 went up by 19 per cent; grade levels 10 to 14 salaries moved up by 16 per cent and grade levels 15 to 17 would get additional 14 per cent on their present salaries. 
 
In other categories, grade level 07 would get 23.2 per cent; levels 08 to 14 would now be earning additional 16 per cent of their present take-home pay and grade levels 15 to 17 would get 10.5 per cent improvement. 
 
The TUC leader said all the negotiators did well, adding: “As an organisation and a major stakeholder in the Nigerian project, we believe that the parties have done well. We shifted grounds and that is why we were able to resolve things without major injuries. It is a win-win situation.”
 
He added that he was particularly happy with the agreement because it has addressed some salary discrepancies and overlapping that the workers had agitated so much about, noting: “This is a unique agreement and we promise to build on that, by God’s grace.” On his part, Ngige lauded the organised labour for their patriotism and understanding, reiterating that the increment would take effect from April 18, 2019 when President Muhammadu Buhari signed the minimum wage bill into law.