Minimum Wage: Labour insists on strike as Ngige briefs Buhari, Osinbajo
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, on Friday briefed President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo on the threat by the organized labour to embark on industrial action from Nov. 6, over delay in the implementation of new national minimum wage.
But organized labour insists on strike except its N30,000 minimum wage ceiling is agreed on by the government.
Ngige, who spoke to State House correspondents after the closed door meetings at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, said the Economic Management Team would be meeting with state governors to harmonise positions on the ongoing negotiation with labour unions over the issue.
He said: “I have come here to consult with the vice president and Mr President. On Monday the economic team will meet and the governors are supposed to come so that the federal government will brief them on what is on the ground.
“And we will see what they will be able to put to us, because the government side is still three tiers, the federal, states and the local governments. The federal government is the leader.
“So, we are inviting them to come so that we will listen to them again, tell them what we are doing and what we intend to do, because they even have members on that committee.
“So, on Monday we will have a very useful discussion before the tripartite committee will come and submit its report.’’
The minister faulted the position of the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on the draft White Paper on Industrial Harmony.
According to him, the labour officials are misinformed about the draft white paper, saying the white paper did not oppose the inclusion of non-elected officials to lead the labour unions in negotiations.
“I don’t think they read the reports of the committee that was set up. The one I participated in is the white paper drafting and the recommendation is there.
“So what the labour officials are talking of may be misinformation, because the particular aspect of it they are talking about, we rejected it – where they say non-elected member should not lead them in negotiation, my committee said, `no’ because those people they call Secretary–General or General Secretary, some of them become automatic members of those unions.
“So, you don’t have to dispossess them of the right to lead. So government rejected it but they are shouting that government accepted it,’’ he said.
It would be recalled that the organized labour had on Sunday announced that it would commence an indefinite industrial action from Nov. 6, if the government refuses to meet their demand on new minimum wage of N30,000 for workers.
The president of the NLC, Ayuba Wabba, and that of the United Labour Congress, Joe Ajaero, confirmed this development in a press statement.
They explained that the forthcoming strike was informed by the federal government’s stance on new minimum wage for workers.
The minister of labour and employment, however, told State House correspondents after the meeting of the Federal Executive Council that federal government would only increase the minimum wage from the current N18,000 to N24,000.