March 23, 2019

Minimum Wage: We Can’t Meet Workers’ Demands – FG

Minimum Wage: We Can’t Meet Workers’ Demands – FG

The demands by the organized labour for the implementation of the N30,000 national minimum wage may be unachievable if feelers coming from the Federal Government (FG) is anything to go by.

The unions under the bodies of TUC, NLC and ULC, reached a resolution to commence a nationwide strike from Tuesday if their demands are not implemented.

The FG was accused of reneging on the decision reached at a tripartite meeting among stakeholders to implement a new minimum wage of N30,000.

However, the FG says no agreement was reached at the tripartite meeting and insists on a N24,000 minimum wage, while the state governors say they would only be able to pay N22,500.

Also Read: Minimum Wage: Flights to be Grounded as Coalition of Airport Workers Set to Join Strike

On Sunday, a reconciliation meeting convened by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) was spurned by the organized labour.

The SGF, Boss Mustapha, spoke to the media on Sunday evening saying the meeting was convened in order for a complete report to be presented to the presidency on the issues relating to the minimum wage.

Mustapha said the tripartite committee has been working overtime to ensure all the issues are resolved in order to forestall the impending strike.

“Basically the only outstanding issue that needs to be dealt with is to harmonise the 5th chapter of the report and get the figures in for the purposes of submission to government.

“Mr President went further to emphasise 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 country’s economy.

“So it is a balance of the welfare of the workforce with the effect of the new minimum wage and the economy,” he said

The SGF quoting Buhari said, “We yearn to go above basic social protection for Nigerian worker 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 noted that 27 states were having difficulty in paying the current minimum wage of N18,000 while noting that he was not making any excuses for them.

He did not elaborate on why labour unions boycotted the meeting but said the tripartite meeting will continue tomorrow.

“I want to assure all of you that once the report is concluded and ready, I will personally ensure that Mr President signs immediately on it,” he said.

Earlier on Sunday, the General Secretary of the NLC, Peter Ozo-Esan, granted an interview explaining why his union boycotted the meeting.

“We (NLC) are not aware of any meeting with the SGF over any matter. A government that gets an injunction against us without putting us on notice until we heard from the press has shown enough bad faith.

“Even if we were aware, we would not be interested to attend any meeting. The meeting we are aware of, which we are going to attend, is the tripartite committee meeting tomorrow in Abuja. That’s the one we plan to attend. That is the official position,” he said.


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