Minimum Wage: Labour Shuns Talk with FG

The organised labour leaders, on Sunday, shunned a meeting set up by the Federal Government to continue negotiations on the national minimum wage for workers in the country.
The meeting was scheduled to hold at the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) but labour failed to attend.
Federal Government representatives in attendance included Secretary to the Government of the Federation Boss Mustapha, Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige and the Minister of Finance Zainab Ahmed.
Representatives of organised private sector were however present at the meeting which was held in the office Mustapha in Abuja.
It was gathered that another meeting of the National Tripartite Minimum Wage Committee would hold on Monday as negotiations continue.
A statement credited to Minister of Labour, Chris Ngige said he urged all members of the committee to attend the meetings in the interest of the nation and to find a solution to the minimum wage issue.
The indefinite strike is planned to start Thursday due to the government’s failure to meet the labour union’s demand for a new national minimum wage.
Labour said it was not interested in the meeting.
Speaking before the meeting went into closed doors, Mustapha said that the tripartite committee set up by the Federal Government would be concluding its report Monday.
According to him, the Federal Government is waiting for the report so that it could begin the process leading to the enactment of the new minimum wage law.
He said the report would still go through the National Economic Council and the Council of State before an Executive Bill would be sent to the National Assembly on the matter.
The only outstanding issues left for the committee, he said, is to harmonise the 15th chapter of the report, harmonise figures and submit report to the President.
Mustapa said the meeting was part of the ongoing negotiation.
He said the meeting was to prepare a complete report to be submitted to the Presidency on the new National Minimum Wage.
Mustapha said the Tripartite Committee has been working assiduously, but though there were outstanding issues that needed to be dealt with, and that was the reason for the rescheduling of the meeting.
“Basically, the only outstanding issue to be dealt with was the harmonisation of the 5th chapter of the report, and thereafter get the figures to be submitted to the government.
“The inaugural speech by Mr President included some very salient points, that caused me to reflect on the work of this committee, and one of it is that there is emphasis that the committee will by consensual agreement arrival at all their decisions and I think that was very important.
” Mr president went further to emphasis that the concern is not only for the welfare of the workers but also every other thing should be taken on board as it affects the county’s economy,
“So, it is a balance of the welfare of the workforce with the effect of the new Minimum Wage on the economy.
“He also underpinned his speech by emphasising the fact we earn to go above basic social protection for Nigerian workers, but also tie to the ability to pay, because I know that a lot of states are even having difficulty meeting the basic minimum wage,” he said.
The SGF also noted that 27 states were faced with the difficulty in the payment of the basic minimum wage that was agreed, saying that he was not making any excuse for them.
” I want to assure all of you that once the report is concluded and ready, I will personaly ensure that Mr President receives and signs it immediately,” he said.
President, United Labour Congress (ULC) Mr Joe Ajaero said that members of the organised labour got the invitation to the meeting late.
“But hopefully, we will be around for tomorrow’s (Monday) meeting by 11a.m,” he said.
NLC Secretary General Peter Oso-Esan: “We (NLC) are not aware of any meeting with the SGF over any matter. A government that gets an injunction against us without putting us on notice until we heard from the press has shown enough bad faith.
“Even if we were aware, we would not be interested to attend any meeting. The meeting we are aware of, which we are going to attend, is the tripartite committee meeting tomorrow in Abuja. That’s the one we plan to attend. That is the official position.”

Author: News Editor

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