January 4, 2019

FG, Labour negotiation meeting on minimum wage inconclusive

President Muhammdu Buhari with Committee Chairman Amal Pepple, Minister of Labour Chris Ngige, Chairman NSIWC Chief Richard Egbule, President NLC Comr. Ayuba Wabba, President TUC Bobboi Bala Kaigama, DG NECA Mr Olusegun Oshinowo as he receives the report by the Tripartite Committee on the Review of National Minimum Wage in State House on 6th Nov 2018

By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
The conciliatory meeting between Federal Government and leadership of Organised labour over the N30,000 minimum wage Friday night was inconclusive.

President Buhari receiving report of Tripartite Committee on the Review of National Minimum Wage from Committee Chairman Mrs Amal Pepple in State House on 6th Nov 2018

The meeting had started at about 12:30pm Friday and was adjourned till 4.30pm to enable the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, attend another engagement at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The meeting was aimed at pacifying the organised labour to shelve the proposed nationwide strike scheduled for Tuesday, 8th January, 2019 over the inability of the executive to transmit the New National Minimum Wage bill to the National Assembly.

Saturday Vanguard reliably gathered that the leadership of labour had impressed it on government to forward executive bill on the N30,000 minimum wage which was agreed upon at the Minimum Wage Tripartite Committee to the National Assembly within one week.

A source privy at the meeting said that the government delegation asked for about four weeks to enable them finish its consultations and forward the bill to the National Assembly.

Also present at the meeting are: Udoma Udo Udoma, Minister of Budget and National Planning; Ayuba Wabba, President Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC); Boiboi Kaigama, President, Trade Union Congress (TUC), and other members of the National Executive Council of the two labour centres.

However, there was no delegation from the Joe Ajaero-led United Labour Congress (ULC) at the meeting.

Speaking to journalists after the meeting, National President of Nigeria Labour Congress, Ayuba Wabba said that they will reconvene.

He said, “The meeting decided that it should be adjourned and reconvene on Monday for us to make further contemplation before the issues are concluded. We have virtually discussed all the issues and particularly on how we can be able to ensure that this issue is out behind us and clearly that was why we took so much of time.

“Even we had time to consult, we have not been able to conclude. We have agreed to reconvene on Monday to be able to tide up the process.

“The issues are about making sure that the bill is transmitted and also other ancillary issues government said they are trying to put together. We also want to see how the money get into the pocket of our workers. You know a lot of economic factors have affected the current wage.

“We have been able to have a meaningful dialogue but the process is not conclusive.

“The planned protest will be determined by the Monday meeting.”

Also speaking, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Ngige said, “We are making progress and we are continuing on Monday. We have made substantial progress in terms of transmission of the new National Minimum Wage Bill to the National Assembly.”

On whether state governments were not part of the negotiation, he said that the issue of the National Minimum Wage was in the exclusive list of the Constitution item 32 and the Exclusive list of Schedule 3.

He explained that the high level technical committee to be set up by government was not a committee to review the minimum wage report, rather a committee that is economic and budget and planning.

“It is a committee that advises the government on sustainability and how to get funds and not a one and off thing.”

Recall that the organised labour had kicked against President Muhammadu Buhari’s plan to set up a high level technical committee that will deliberate on the modality of implementation of the new minimum wage.