Labour, FG meets in abuja ahead of strike

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Ahead of the planned strike on Tuesday, some members of the organized labour unions have arrived at the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation in Abuja, for a meeting to negotiate on the new minimum wage.

Labour leaders could not attend the meeting held on Sunday because according to the unions, they got the invitation for the meeting late.

The president of the Nigeria Labour Congress, his general secretary and some representatives of the Trade Union Congress, as well as the chairman of the National Income and Wages Commission, arrived for the meeting on Monday morning.

Also present was the Governor of Kebbi State, who is one of the governors’ representatives in the tripartite committee and the Minister of Labour, Chris Ngige.

The labour leaders who are seeking an upward review of the current minimum wage from N18,000 to N30,000 had earlier threatened to commence a nationwide strike on November 6 if the government failed to meet their demands today.

The National Industrial Court on Friday gave a ruling restraining the organised labour from embarking on proposed strike on Nov. 6.

Mr Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) said on Sunday that the meeting was part of the exercise that ought to be undertaken as part of the ongoing negotiation.

He said the meeting was to prepare a complete report to be submitted to the presidency on the issues of the new National Minimum Wage.

Mustapha said that the Tripartite Committee has been working assiduously.

However, there are outstanding issues that needed to be dealt with, and that was the reason for the rescheduling of the meeting, he said.

“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 arrive at all their decisions and I think that was very important.

” Mr president went further to emphasise 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 are to go above basic social protection for Nigerian workers, but also tie it 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 personally ensure that Mr President receives and signs it immediately,” he said.

Posted by Juliet Ekwebelam (NAN)