Labour Leaders Shun Meeting With FG Over Minimum Wage

Leaders of the organised labour have failed to attend the meeting convened by the Federal Government to continue negotiations on the national minimum wage for workers in the country.

However, the government continued the dialogue with the organised private sector at the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, on Sunday in Abuja.

Mr Mustapha was joined by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, as well as the Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed.

The meeting followed a statement credited to Dr Ngige who revealed that the negotiation would be trailed by another meeting of the National Tripartite Minimum Wage Committee on Monday.

He had appealed to all members of the committee to attend the meetings in the interest of the nation and to find a solution to the minimum wage impasse.

Having demanded N30,000 as a new minimum wage for workers, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) had vowed that the only meeting its members would attend was the final meeting of the committee to finalise the whole process and submit it to President Muhammadu Buhari.

NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, insisted during an interview last week that there was no need for any negotiation anymore because the process had been completed.

After a series of negotiations between the government and labour leaders ended in a deadlock, the labour leaders had threatened to embark on a fresh nationwide indefinite strike on Tuesday next week.

According to them, the decision was necessary after what they described as the government’s unwillingness to implement a new minimum wage for workers in the country.

At the state level, the Nigeria Governors’ Forum said most states lacked the capacity to pay the amount demanded by the labour.

Following an emergency meeting held on Tuesday last week, the governors agreed to pay N22,500, lamenting that some of their colleagues were still struggling with the existing N18,000.

This was strongly rejected by labour leaders who insisted that there was no going back on their decision to embark on a nationwide strike come November 6.

The National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN), however, ordered the organised labour not to proceed on its planned nationwide indefinite industrial action.

Justice Sanusi Kado gave the order on Friday while delivering a ruling on an ex-parte application restraining the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) from embarking on the strike.

He granted the application pending the determination of the substantive suit filed by the Federal Government and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) against both unions.

The judge thereafter fixed November 8 for the hearing of the main suit.

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