Minimum Wage: FG, labour unions begin meeting

Nigeria labour union leaders in intense negotiation with the Nigerian government over the new minimum wage.
Nigeria labour union leaders in intense negotiation with the Nigerian government over the new minimum wage.

The federal government and the labour unions on Tuesday commenced the minimum wage/consequential adjustment meeting in Abuja.

The outcome of the meeting will determine the workers’ unions next line of action. They had last week issued a threat to embark on a nationwide industrial action should the government fail to show commitment to the full implementation of the new minimum wage.

Although the labour union officials started arriving as at 1:58 p.m., the meeting did not start till 2:45 p.m.

Speaking at the meeting, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, said the discussion centres on fixing the minimum wage.

The labour unions submitted their preferred percentage on the ‘consequential increase’ in workers’ salaries arising from the new minimum wage of N30,000 on Monday.

”Collective adjustment is like collective bargaining but has its own limitation. Let’s look at the issue and we will resolve,” the minister said.

However, the general secretary of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Musa Lawal-Ozigi, said it is not right for workers to be suffering when a government exists.

” To avoid crisis, it is important to make the workers happy, ” he said.

Also, the acting Head of Service, Folashade Yemi-Esan, said both the government and labour unions want improved welfare for the workers.

”There is no different side here, the president is worried about the welfare workers too so we will have a fruitful deliberation,” he said.

The unions had asked their branches across the country to get set for industrial action.

The labour unions had earlier issued a communiqué, warning that economic activities would be shut from October 16.

They said they would go on strike if the federal government failed to reconvene a meeting of the committee on consequential adjustments of workers salaries based on the new minimum wage.

Grouse

The major issue delaying the full implementation of the minimum wage 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 had 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.
The labour minister declared the technical session of the meeting open at 3:08 p.m.

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