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Minimum Wage – Again, Govt, Labour Meeting Deadlocked

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Minimum Wage – Again, Govt, Labour Meeting Deadlocked

Minimum Wage – Again, Govt, Labour Meeting Deadlocked

After seven hours of intensive deliberation between a federal government team and representatives of labour unions, the ongoing negotiation on Nigeria’s minimum adjustment ended inconclusively.

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

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

However, both parties agreed to adjourn the meeting till 7pm 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 the deadline given by workers to downtool 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.

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

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

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 assignment 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.

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

When asked if Nigerians should stay at home as a form of solidarity, Mr Wabba said the unions were trying to resolve the issues.

“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.

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