Minimum wage: Labour shuns meeting with FG, starts strike tomorrow

Representatives of the organised labour yesterday shunned a meeting called by the Federal Government as part of efforts to stop the nationwide strike called by the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress.

The unions’ planned indefinite strike scheduled to commence on Tuesday was called to protest government’s failure to meet the labour’s demand for a new national minimum wage.

While state governors had proposed a new N22, 500 from the current N18, 000 minimum wage, the labour unions demand at least N30, 000.

Some government officials however attended the meeting hosted by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Gida Mustapha which held behind closed door.

Those at the meeting include Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige; Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed; officials of the National Salaries Income and Wage Commission, and some permanent secretaries.

Mustapha, who spoke before the meeting went into closed session, said the tripartite committee on national minimum wage set up by the Federal Government would be concluding works on its report on Monday (today).

According to him, the Federal Government was waiting for the report so that it could commence processes leading to the enactment of law on the new minimum wage.

He said the report would still go through the National Economic Council (NEC) and the Council of State before an Executive Bill would be sent to the National Assembly on the issue.

He said many states are still finding it difficult to pay the current minimum wage, recalling that the Federal Government instituted bailout for the purpose of helping the states to meet up.

“The only outstanding issues left for the committee was to harmonise the 15th chapter of the report, harmonise figures and submit report to the President. I assure you that government is waiting for the report and will immediately set up processes required for implementation. Hopefully, their work would be concluded when they meet tomorrow (today) and append their signatures to the report.

“They will then transmit to me and I will seek an audience with the President to present it to him. The report will go through NEC, Council of State before a draft executive bill will be sent to NASS. I am awaiting the report of the committee. They will meet tomorrow (today) at 11am.

Meanwhile, two officials of the labour unions told Daily Trust in exclusive interviews that they deliberately shun the meeting with the government.

One of the union leaders, who insisted on not being named, said “Our leaders got information that the government team shamelessly wanted to serve us a so-called court suit as part of measures to frustrate our planned strike. This strike is on behalf of Nigerian workers and the government has been deceiving us. We saw the handwriting on the wall especially after the warning strike.”

Post a Comment