October 20, 2018

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Minimum Wage: Labour declares stand today

Minimum Wage: Labour declares stand today

The President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba, said the union is not ruling out a strike in order to reopen negotiations for an improvement in the minimum wage.

He said, “If it becomes necessary to declare a strike action over the minimum wage imbroglio, we would do that.

But it will be communicated appropriately to the rank and file after the meeting of the organised labour.”

This pronouncement came as the labour body and other stakeholders in the industry meet in Lagos today to decide the next course of action on the suspension of negotiations by the government.

Wabba accused the Federal Government of intentionally delaying the negotiation process in order to forestall the implementation of the new minimum wage in the country.

According to him, the committees that worked on the figure had reached agreement on average, and main and medium figures for debate, before the Minister of Labour and Employment Chris Ngige, suddenly adjourned the meeting.

He also said there has been no communication between the labour movement and the government and the body is yet to see any concrete action taken to reconvene the meeting.

“Both Conventions 98 and 131 that relate directly to the issue of the minimum wage have not been violated by labour in the negotiation processes.

“The issue of adjourning a meeting sine die on a day that the report of that collective bargaining is supposed to be concluded is indeed a violation of the principle of tripartism.

“This is because no one party in the tripartite process can unilaterally impose a decision on the other.

“This negates an agreement that had been reached. The committee had a work plan within which to conclude its assignment on or before August 21, 2018.

“We had to shift the date because it fell on a public holiday after the tripartite agreement,” Wabba explained.

He also said the inability of some states to pay the current N18,000 minimum wage is as a result of misplaced priorities.

According to him, “In the last three months, revenues have so much increased from around N400 billion to about N1trillion.

Yet, we see some state governments that are still unable to pay salaries. If states like Yobe, Katsina and Jigawa can pay salaries and gratuity, why can’t most states?”

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