Minimum Wage: Labour Suspends Strike As Talks With FG Continues

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The Organized Labour has suspended its planned nationwide strike billed to commence today over issues surrounding the implementation of the N30,000 new minimum wage.

Recall that Labour leaders and delegation of the Federal Government led by Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige met Tuesday in a bid to make consessions on salary adjustments.

The meeting which lasted for over five hours, saw Labour leaders and the government’s representatives made concessions, but they failed to reach a definite agreement on the salary adjustments.

“The two sides made concessions but in addition to the Federal Government concession, the team also introduced innovations which is strange to us. But we have asked for documents to back that position.

However, whatever figures presented now at the meeting are mere proposals that Labour is going home to examine critically before tomorrow’s (today) meeting,” a Labour source says.

It was also learnt that the Minister pleaded with the union leaders to consider the present state of the nation’s economy in their demands.

Briefing journalists, Ngige said, “I serve as the conciliator so I am not on any side. I belong to the two parties. As you can see, there was no fight and no walkout. That shows that things are going on well.

“We will continue on Wednesday because of areas that we could not touch.”

Addressing the media, the Nigeria Labour Congress Deputy President, Amaechi Asugwuni said, “For us at Labour, the matters are straightforward but negotiations are still going on. We thought the meeting would be concluded today but that prediction was not successful.

Therefore, adjournment became necessary. The struggle will still continue. “We will meet again tomorrow and that meeting will decide the fate of both parties. So far, commitments have been shown by both parties but we believe that the areas that are still in contest are critical and we urge government to see how it can shift ground positively. We expect that Wednesday’s meeting will end positively.” The Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Dr Folashade Yemi-Esan, who spoke for the government team added, “We have worked together and both sides have made a lot of concessions but we discovered that there are areas to be ironed out.

There are some documents and information that are being sought and which we are providing. We will continue tomorrow with the belief that we will reach an agreement.

President Muhammadu Buhari had signed the N30,000 minimum wage into law but implementation has been stalled because the government and Labour unions have failed to reach an agreement on the consequential adjustment of salaries.

The organized labour had demanded 29 percent salary increase for officers on salary level 07 to 14 and 24 percent adjustment for officers on salary grade level 15 to 17.

However, the government presented a proposal of 11 percent salary increase for officers on grade level 07 to 14 and 6.5 percent adjustment for workers of grade level 15 to 17.

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