Minimum Wage: Works’ Hope Hanging

Works hope is hanging over the minimumt wage as today meeting between the Federal Government and organised labour will determine the fate of Nigerian workers

It would be recalled that Labour leaders on Monday met with Minister of Labour and Employment Chris Ngige.

Although Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) General Secretary Emmanuel Ugboaja said Labour would go into today, (Tuesday) meeting with an open mind, it is clear from their body language that they have lost hope of a ‘favourable outcome’.

Ugboaja added that if the outcome is not favourable, Labour would have no choice but to embark on strike.

Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council (JNPNC) Secretary Alade Lawal said organised labour would not accept anything less than its demands.

Labour is demanding 29 per cent adjustment for workers on levels 07-14 and 24 per cent for workers on levels 15-17.

Workers on levels 1-6 are already being paid the new wage.

Monday’s meeting follows the collapse of the first phase of negotiations due to percentage differences on the new N30,000 minimum wage implementation.

The Federal Government presented a proposal of 11 per cent increase for officers on grade levels 07-14 and 6.5 per cent adjustment for workers of grade levels 15-17.

It was gathered that the government offered labour N158 billion in the 2020 budget.

Lawal advised the government to meet Labour’s demand to avoid industrial action.

He said: “We have a demand before the government. Let them meet those demands. Let them meet up with them and then, we wrap this thing up and we go and do some other things.”

On his assessment of Monday’s meeting, Lawal said: “The Labour Minister did his best, but his best is yet to meet our expectation.

“Our eyes are on the ball. The substance is our demand. What he is telling us is that it will be difficult for the government to meet our demands.

“They are still insisting that they won’t go beyond what is in the budget, meaning that they are not prepared to shift ground.

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