The President of the Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees, Akeem Ambali, has urged the Federal Government to negotiate with labour over the proposed review of the allowances for government workers.
In an interview Ambali said the union had not been carried along in the allowance review process, adding that the government did not follow due process.
He spoke against the backdrop of the ongoing review of the allowances of government workers by the Federal Government.
Even though the LG workers are categorised under the state government, the NULGE leader believes the state government needs to commence negotiations with LG employees
He said, “By the principle of collective bargaining, it is a tripartite arrangement. So, whatever the government has clarified that has not come to the table of labour and we have not negotiated it, no partner in collective bargaining reserves the right to just unilaterally announce any review of remuneration or salaries.”
“We regard what the Federal Goernment has said as a rumour because labour has not been invited to the table for negotiation. We await FG’s invitation to come and negotiate on this and our negotiations will be based on what is evident- the galloping inflation trend in Nigeria. Any review that is worth its onion will have to be in two legs.”
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, had noted that the Presidential Committee on Salaries was working hand-in-hand with the National Salaries Incomes and Wages Commission on an upward review of the workers’ salaries.
The Federal Government in a statement noted that it was only reviewing remunerations and emoluments.
The minister further emphasised that the affected workers for remunerations were civil servants.
“The Presidential Committee on salaries through the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation received recommendations for review of all allowances of many ministries, departments and agencies of government.
“Because the salary component is not being reviewed for now by the committee, it addressed the allowances component of the requests including the peculiar allowances for Federal Civil Servants amongst others,” it said.
He stated there was a need to look at how to arrest the galloping inflation in Nigeria because any salary in review with no price control mechanism would make a waste of whatever has been done, adding that fuel prices cannot continue to skyrocket daily with the facade of salary review.
Meanwhile, the president of the Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees argued, “Our second leg of negotiation is about remuneration too. What will be the increase in the purchasing power of Nigerian workers? As of today, Nigerian workers have been highly impoverished. What we are paid is a peanut, which is less than $2 per day.”