Labour absent at minimum wage meeting; logjam may be resolved today
Members of the Organised Labour on Sunday shunned the reconciliatory meeting with the Federal Government over the non-implementation of the N30, 000 new National Minimum Wage for workers in the country.
The Federal Government had called a reconciliatory meeting with the Organised Labour and the Organised Private Sector, scheduled to hold at the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
The National Industrial Court on Friday gave a ruling restraining the organised labour from embarking on proposed strike on Nov. 6. With the silence and absence of labour from the meeting, it is very unlikely that labour would call off its proposed strike despite a court order. Another meeting will hold Monday morning ahead of the Tuesday November 6 proposed strike.
A labour official who spoke with all reporter said the court injunction was in bad faith, recalling that a government that has been selective in obeying court orders should not expect any organization or person to obey a court order that suits the same government.
Mr Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) said on Sunday that the meeting was part of the exercise that ought to be undertaken as part of the ongoing negotiation.
He said the meeting was to prepare a complete report to be submitted to the presidency on the issues of the new National Minimum Wage.
Mustapha said that the Tripartite Committee has been working assiduously, but though there were outstanding issues that needed to be dealt with, and that was the reason for the rescheduling of the meeting.
“Basically, the only outstanding issue to be dealt with was the harmonisation of the 5th chapter of the report, and thereafter get the figures to be submitted to the government.
“The inaugural speech by Mr President included some very salient points, that caused me to reflect on the work of this committee, and one of it is that there is emphasis that the committee will by consensual agreement arrival at all their decisions and I think that was very important.
” Mr president went further to emphasis that the concern is not only for the welfare of the workers but also every other thing should be taken on board as it affects the county’s economy,
“So, it is a balance of the welfare of the workforce with the effect of the new Minimum Wage on the economy.
“He also underpinned his speech by emphasising the fact we earn to go above basic social protection for Nigerian workers, but also tie to the ability to pay, because I know that a lot of states are even having difficulty meeting the basic minimum wage,” he said.
The SGF also noted that 27 states were faced with the difficulty in the payment of the basic minimum wage that was agreed, saying that he was not making any excuse for them.
He added that the meeting would continue tomorrow (Monday), thereafter members of the tripartite committee would continue with their meeting.
”I want to assure all of you that once the report is concluded and ready, I will personally ensure that Mr President receives and signs it immediately,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr Joe Ajaero, President, United Labour Congress (ULC) told NAN that members of the organised labour got the invitation to the meeting late.
“But hopefully, we will be around for tomorrow’s (Monday) meeting by 11a.m,” he said.
All efforts to get other members of the organised labour proved abortive.
However, Sen. Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment gave the assurance that organised labour would be at the meeting on Monday.
According to him, they are not here today and they gave excuse why they are not here.
“We also want to say that we do not support the State governments’ N22,500 proposal and we have also said so.
“We also have our own figure and the Tripartite Committee meeting will look at it and the outcome of the Monday’s meeting will be a consensual, I am sure of that, ” he said. (NAN)