Cablegate: Nigeria: Gon Agrees to Increase Civil Service

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

101300Z Sep 03




E.O. 12598: N/A

1. On Friday, September 5, Laboff spoke to Chris Uyot, the
Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Head of Information and Public
Affairs, who confirmed that the GON agreed to implement
sliding scale wage increases for all federal civil servants
retroactive to July 1, 2003. While both sides are working
out specific details, Uyot explained that the lowest paid
civil servants would receive a 12.5 percent increase while
employees at the top of the scale would receive four
percent. NLC President Adams Oshiomhole told Laboff that
the sides would have agreed to the sliding scale proposal
sooner but negotiators, who are at the top of the pay scale,
would not consider a proposal that would reduce their salary
increase by 8.5 percent.

2. The Trade Union Congress (TUC), comprised of senior
staff and managers, would like to prevent the agreement from
being implemented because its members would not receive the
full 12.5 percent increase. Biodun Ogunade, TUC's Head of
Information, claims that the negotiation between GON and NLC
"was done in a deceitful, untransparent and undemocratic
manner as senior staff in the public sector were not
represented." The NLC counters that TUC cannot now claim it
was deceived because the government's negotiators were also
TUC senior staff members. (Comment. TUC was not formally
represented at the negotiations because it is not a GON-
recognized trade union center. TUC members were, however,
present and participating during the negotiations and aware
of the impact of the proposed sliding scale on themselves
and their colleagues. End comment.)

3. Although it appears that the GON and its employees may
have found an affordable common ground, state officials are
concerned that their civil servants will demand a similar
increase. Some states are already as much as one year
behind in paying salaries and pensions to employees. While
state governments have intensified their efforts to resolve
salary and pension disputes, the majority of states do not
have the financial resources to support salary increases.
Lagos State Governor Bola Tinubu said his government is not
in a position to pay the 12.5 percent wage hike and
expressed concern that, if the federal increase is
implemented, state civil servants "will never take `no' for
an answer." He warned that the inability to pay higher
wages at the state level would eventually lead to industrial
actions, including strikes.


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