Minimum Wage: Again, FG, Labour meeting deadlocked

NLC meeting with Govt
NLC meeting with Govt

After seven hours of intensive deliberation between a federal government team and representatives of labour unions, the ongoing negotiation on Nigeria’s new minimum wage adjustment ended without a deal.

The negotiation meeting, which started on Tuesday, has yet to reach a resolution even as at Thursday morning.

The Wednesday meeting began at 5 pm and ended at 2:15 am on Thursday.

However, both parties agreed to adjourn the meeting until 7 pm on Thursday to continue deliberation.

PREMIUM TIMES had reported how the federal government failed to reach a truce with labour over the new minimum wage, even as the deadline given by workers to call a strike neared.

The Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress want the full implementation of the N30,000 new minimum wage and its consequential adjustments.

The government, which approved the new wage before the last elections, has failed so far to implement it.

Consultations Galore

Last week, labour threatened a nationwide industrial action if the government failed to show commitment to the full implementation of the new minimum wage.

The Wednesday meeting started late at 5 pm because the labour minister, Chris Ngige, did not arrive early.

During negotiations, the unions broke out from the government team more than four times for consultations.

An agreement by both parties will be an indication there would be no national strike.

Speaking at the end of Thursday meeting, the minister of Labour and Productivity said both parties agreed on many areas.

He said both parties agreed to reconvene at 7pm.

“But there are areas we didn’t agree on, we are adjourning the meeting. We have given assignments to both parties and they will do it and give us feedback. The work is enormous and we do not want to make mistakes we can avoid, ” he said.

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The President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba, said bargaining and negotiations remained alive.

”Every dispute will be settled, ”he said.

Controversy

The main controversy is the percentage salary increase for certain categories of workers.

Labour is demanding a 29 per cent salary increase for officers on salary level 07 to 14, and 24 per cent adjustment for officers on salary grade level 15 to 17.

But the federal government presented a proposal of 11 per cent salary increase for officers on grade level 07 to14, and 6.5 per cent adjustment for workers of grade level 15 to 17.

Minimum Wage

President Muhammadu Buhari signed a new minimum wage bill into law in April 2019. But its implementation has been stalled over disagreements between the unions and government representatives.

The implementation of the new minimum wage has remained a problem, arising from the issue of relativity and consequential adjustments.

On May 14, the federal government inaugurated the relativity and consequential adjustment committee, which set up a technical subcommittee to work out a template for the adjustment of salaries of public service employees in line with the minimum wage law.

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