Ahead of the Public Service Negotiating Council meeting on the new minimum wage, slated for September 4, the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba, says the union will support whatever position the General Council adopts.
Mr Wabba made the announcement while speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the inauguration of the International Lawyers Assisting Workers (ILAW) on Tuesday in Abuja.
Labour has been at odds with the federal government over the implementation of a new minimum wage that was signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari on April 18.
Mr Wabba said the consequential adjustment agreement between the NLC and government was at the sectoral level, explaining that once they were able to take a definite decision, the NLC would support the decision.
According to him, like is being done in the private sector, the negotiation is done at the sectoral level and once they are able to make a decision our own is to support the decision that the general council will take.
He, however, said that the NLC would not pre-empt the decision of the negotiating team, adding that it would be contrary to the spirit of dialogue and collective bargaining.
“We cannot pre-empt a discussion that will take place tomorrow. I think that is not the spirit of dialogue and collective bargaining.
“Whatever will be the outcome, we hope it will be favourable but where they need to take decision, the labour centre will support whatever decision they take.’’
The unionist said that the NLC was meant to support and give the general council negotiating with the government the necessary backup.
Mr Wabba said, however, that it was within the domain of the general council to make a final decision, adding that there were enough competent people to make a reasonable decision.
“I am sure they are competent to do that and if they have any challenge they will resort to us. That is the process. We should keep our fingers crossed. The right thing will be done.”
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that negotiation on the new wage has apparently run into a logjam, following the inability of labour and government to agree on consequential adjustments.
Civil servants in Nigeria earn abysmally low wages, while political office holders in the top oil-exporting nation earn some of the biggest wages in the world, according to analysts.