Minimum wage: FG, labour adjourn meeting, to reconvene 7.00pm Thursday

Abiodun OBA        |          

Negotiation over consequential adjustment in workers’ salaries as a result of the new minimum wage of N30,000 is yet to be concluded despite nine-hour deliberations between  labour and the federal government.

The meeting began after 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday and ended at 2:00 a.m. on Thursday.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, who presided over the meeting, told journalists that specific jobs had been given to some committees that must be submitted before the negotiation could be deemed completed.

He said the meeting would reconvene 7:00 p.m. on Thursday.

Ngige said, “We have agreed on areas hitherto we could not agree on. We are adjourning the meeting. We are giving assignment to people on both sides and they are going to do the work and get back to us.

“The work involved is enormous. We are giving them the entire day to get back to us; issues of money and wage adjustment with different wage structures. We have 12 different wage structures presently in Nigeria.

“We don’t want to make mistake that would be fatal thereby put the whole exercise in jeopardy. We have consensually agreed that we will reconvene this meeting at 7:00 p.m. today (Thursday). This will enable those that we give assignment to complete them and get back to us. We are okay with the meeting moving on smoothly. It is very cordial. We disagreed on various issues but we have agreed.”

In his case, Nigeria Labour Congress president Ayuba Wabba, who was also part of the meeting, said that Nigerians would be given details of the negotiation and concessions made after the rescheduled meeting. He also described as speculation the report that both parties had settled for certain percentage increase in consequential adjustment.

He said, “It was a collective bargaining process that has lasted this long. Some progress has been made but we have not been able to conclude and have collective bargaining agreement. Some committees need to do some computation. We have worked up to early hours of today. That is in the true spirit of collective bargaining. That is what we have to do to get the process concluded and conclude the process.”

Wednesday  meeting was indeed an enlarged one on the side of labour, with the president of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Ayuba Wabba, president of the Trade Union Congress, Quadri Olaleye, former TUC president, Bobboi Kaigama, and heads of affiliate workers unions present.

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