From: Uche Nnorom, Makurdi
Benue State government is to commence the implementation of the National Minimum Wage for civil servants.
The implementation which is expected to take effect at the end of December is for worker on levels 1-6.
This formed the resolution reached at the end of meeting between the State government and labor leaders which was held at the Government House, Makurdi.
Briefing newsmen, Secretary to the State Government Prof. Anthony Ijohor said for the other categories of workers that is for 7-17, government would look at issue of over bloated allowances and other entitlements which they are enjoying unduly.
“This is something that is already ongoing. And of course, we took consideration the recession as well as other factors. Level 7 and above have to be stepped down until we meet again. We will put it in writing and I believe, it is not something to postpone till next year. We can start implementation this month (December)
“The Labor leaders and unions are part of the clean up committee where we will talk about excessive allowances that certain categories of workers are not entitled to. They would have to defend it before the committee. It is going to be a comprehensive exercise. Because many people are retiring and so, the wage bill cannot remain the same. So, I cannot tell you categorically what the wage is now though there has been reduction in the wage bill in recent times. If we clean up, we believe that we will have more money”,Prof. Ijohor stated.
Commenting, the State Chairman Joint Public Service Council Negotiation 1,2 and 3 said they adopted the Federal Government chart, adding that from level 7 and above, Government offered them 500 naira addition for all categories of workers.
“When we looked at that, we said it is quite unrealistic but when we met with the Governor, he raised two (2) fundamental issues,that is, recession and downfall on monthly allocation and told us that, a committee has been put in place to clean up the pay roll of government.
“The governor has given us assurance that government will get to the root of the wage bill. If this is done, a lot of money will be saved. So, we told government that instead of going back to tell our members that 500 naira has been added to their salaries, they should keep that in view pending when we get out of recession and the pay roll is cleaned up and then we can come back and look at realistic ways of resolving the consequential adjustment.
“One good thing about labor is that when you give us a statement and you are not living up to expectation, we have an option to call you and remind you and when not satisfied, then we will use our last resort, that is strike.