By Joan Nwagwu
The federal government and the organised labour would meet again on Oct. 4 to continue negotiation on the new minimum wage, Mr. Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment has stated.
The minister dispelled speculation that the meeting with the organised labour over the crisis of new minimum wage ended in a deadlock.
Mr Samuel Olowookere, Director of Press in the ministry quoted the minister in a statement on Wednesday.
The minister met with the labour leaders who were also part of the Tripartite Committee on the new National Minimum Wage to update them on government’s position.
Ngige was reacting to reports by some section of the media that the meeting between government and labour ended in deadlock.
According to him, the meeting between the Organised Labour and the Federal Government held did not end in deadlock as being reported in a section of the media.
‘The meeting was in fact successful as both the Federal Government team led by the Minister of Labour and Employment and the leadership of the organised Labour agreed to reconvene the meeting of the National Minimum Wage Committee on Thursaday, October 4, 2018.
”This is to give enough time for the Income Salaries and Wages Commission to round off the assignment given to it.
”As a result, Labour agreed to reach out to its organs of leadership with the October 4th resumption date, as demanded by its National Executive Council with a view to suspending the proposed strike, ”he said.
The labour had called on workers from all sectors of the economy to comply with the seven days nationwide warning strike beginning from Thursday.
Mr Ayuba Wabba, President, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) made the call at a joint news conference organised by NLC, Trade Union Congress(TUC) and United Labour Congress(ULC) on Wednesday in Abuja.
The labour had accused the Federal Government of stalling the negotiation by failing to mention a figure as a new minimum wage for workers in the country.
The organised labour had also on Sept. 12 issued the Federal Government a 14-day ultimatum insisting that the Tripartite Committee on the new National Minimum Wage should conclude its work within the stipulated time frame.
According to Wabba, the action is in compliance with the decision of the various organs of the organised labour, which endorsed the 14-day ultimatum served on the Federal Government by member of the unions who were part of the negotiation committee.
“The labour further mandated its leadership to take all necessary steps to ensure compliance with the warning strike in the first instance.
“This is to compel the government to reconvene the meeting of the committee in order to bring it to a logical conclusion.
“In compliance with this mandate, all workers in the public and private sectors at all levels across the country have been directed to join the strike.
“Industrial unions, state councils, all workers organisation and our civil society allies have been directed to step up mobilisation of their members,” he said.
He also said that public and private institutions, offices, banks, schools, public and private business premises including filling stations are to remain shut till further notice.
Wabba said that all those who mean well for the country and want to see to the success of the action should cooperate with labour, saying that the action would remain in force until further directive are given.