The Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) has told the Federal Government that the existence of salary disparity within the civil service was not encouraging productivity within the public service and asked the government to use the opportunity of the tripartite committee on minim wage to address the issue in the overall interest of workers.
Speaking at a seminar organised by the association in Abuja entitled: “Effective Labour-Management Relation: A Panacea for Industrial Peace and Harmony’’, Head of the Union Secretariat in Abuja, Isaac Ojemeke, said the call has become imperative, following the 30-man Tripartite Committee, recently inaugurated by the Federal Government for the negotiation of a new National Minimum Wage.
He said the tripartite committee on minimum wage should also look into the issue of disparity in salaries across ministries, departments and agencies if government, adding that while there are agencies that are earning so much, others are earning at the bottom level, saying “we believed that we are all graduates and products of the same federal or state institutions.
“That is whether they are called parastatals or departments, we are being paid from the same purse and the same employers but with different salary scales. We believe that this is what has increased corruption because if you look at your colleagues in other agencies earning higher than you who is even putting much effort, you feel discouraged.
“From our finding, this a major issue that needs to be looked into seriously as it increases corruption. So, we are calling on government to tackle this corruption headlong. There must be closure in that disparity gap.’’
Chairman of the Ministry of Labour and Employment branch of the union, Tommy Etim-Okon, called the tripartite committee to consider the plight of workers by approving the N56, 000 recommended by labour.
“Workers are deeply affected by economic realities because their salary has been stagnant and we all go to the same market with the high and mighty. So if this administration really wants to fight corruption, they should see minimum wage not at the point of the proposed N56, 000 because it cannot pay our children school fees.
“So, we want to plead with the Federal Government and the 30-man committee to ensure that the new minimum wage is not below N56, 000.’’
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Bolaji Adebiyi, called on the union to embrace collective bargaining for industrial harmony to reign in the work place.
Adebiyi noted that the ministry had faced a lot of strikes in the past few months, noting that issues raised were on agreements entered by the previous administration.
He, however, assured workers that the present administration through the ministry was working towards ensuring that all issues were resolved for the benefits and welfare of workers.