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Minimum Wage Meeting: Labour, Government Shift Grounds


The Federal Government and organised Labour shifted grounds at the on-going minimum wage talks on Wednesday.

At the resumed discussion, the Federal Government added N3, 000 to the N54, 000 it offered on Tuesday as monthly wage to the least paid worker, taking it to N57, 000.

Labour, for the first time since the negotiation began, reduced its demand. It offered N497, 000 for discussion. The Organised Private Sector (OPS) at the penultimate meeting offered N54,000.

A source at the meeting said:  “The government offered N57,000; Labour kicked and came down to N497,000.

“The government is talking of non-availability of fund. They are also talking about the inability of the private sector to pay.”

The source said that the government offer was presented by the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Mrs. Nkeiruka Onyejeocha.

But the governors were still not represented at yesterday’s meeting.

However, Imo State Governor Hope Uzodimma, who is also chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Governors’ Forum, showed up at the meeting.

“The Imo State governor has stepped in. He is not one of the six representatives of the governors on the tripartite committee, but it is good that there is at least a governor. The six governors are representing the six geo-political zones,” the source added.

The meeting was adjourned till Tuesday.

Discussion on a new national minimum wage was on Tuesday adjourned till yesterday to allow the governors to be part of the meeting.

On May 15, the government proposal of N48, 000 as the new minimum wage was rejected, forcing Labour to walk out of the negotiation.

During the May Day rally, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu promised to pay workers a living wage.

In a joint statement on Monday, the two Labour centres – Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) – insisted that negotiation on the new minimum wage must be concluded by the end of this month.

Another source said: “Government has agreed that NLC is using evidence-based presentation. But they (government team) argue that eight states are not paying or not fully implementing the 2019 N30,000 minimum wage.

President Tinubu, through the Vice President, Kashim Shettima, inaugurated the 37-member tripartite committee on January 30 with a mandate to come up with a new minimum wage.

With its membership cutting across the federal, state and local government areas, the private sector and organised Labour, the panel is to recommend a new national minimum wage for the country.

Shettima, during the committee’s inauguration, urged the members to “speedily” arrive at a resolution and submit their reports early.

“This timely submission is crucial to ensure the agreement of a new minimum wage,” Shettima had said.

He also urged collective bargaining in good faith, emphasising contract adherence and encouraging consultations outside the committee.

The 37-man committee is chaired by a former Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Goni Aji.

Credit: thenationonlineng.net

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