Nationwide Strike: FG in last-minute meeting with Labour on Minimum Wage

The federal government have fixed a last-minute meeting with the representatives of the Labour Union. This follows a breakdown in communication between the Labour and the Federal Government on Monday.

Labour is asking for a percentage adjustment of salaries of workers up to grade level 17. Following a logjam between the FG and the Labour Union, Labour has threatened to down tools on Wednesday the 16th and proceed on Nationwide Strike.

Endless and fruitless conversation between the parties have created so much anxiety on the public workers. Some have expressed frustrations after the new minimum wage was signed into law over non-compliant by the Federal Government.

Speaking in Abuja on Monday, the Minister of Labour, Chris Ngige said the meeting is to prepare a soft-landing for the meeting on October 15. Ngige pleaded with the Labour leaders to be open-minded so that both parties can understand the other’s positions.

“If we don’t soften the ground bullets will fly and at the end of the day, we will come back to the negotiating table. That is why we are doing this as a proactive measure’

“Part of my work is to ensure that there is a quiet industrial milieu.  The workforce brings out their full productivity and employers, businesses will not be disrupted. That is why we called you again.

“Tomorrow, we are going to do the mix grill meeting. That mix grill meeting tomorrow can be one-hour meeting, it can be two hours or it can be 12 hours, depending on what we are able to achieve today.

“I appeal to everybody to show some understanding.

“We are going to discuss dispassionately.  Nothing will be hidden from anybody. The books of government, I talked about it before– when I mean books they are budgets– 2019/2020, we will make it bare.

“I have warned them and I have advised them that if they come they should be prepared to present their case, meaningfully and successfully.

“I will stay in the middle as an arbiter because that is what I am going to do in this instance.”

The Deputy President of Labour, Comrade Amechi Asugwuni, also speaking at the meeting on behalf of he Nigerian Labour Congress reiterated that the Organised Labour have shifted grounds on her demands for the consequential adjustment of the minimum wage of N30,000

“We all know the consequences of delay is never fruitful and as such organised labour has come here with an open mind in ensuring that facts are facts, also the situations are already known to us.

The economy is biting and as a matter of fact, we must assist the process at this time in ensuring that we close it earlier than needed so that we can avert the unforeseen.

“It is only when you don’t know where you are going that you will waste a lot of time doing nothing.

“The position of labour is very clear. It gives us the signpost of what we have asked for and where we are going. So every delay, every action taken is toward that position and we know that you will do your best to get there.

“We believe that the Federal Government will do the needful because ours is a straight forward proposal.

“We have made our proposal to the FG before now and government is to respond. We believe that by tomorrow, we will get the FG’s feedback and know the next thing to do.

“Labour will not tolerate anything short of reasonable adjustment in the ongoing negotiation.

“The consequential adjustment is a matter of percentage which requires give and take principle. You state what you want but it depends on the government to see sense in your demand.

“Labour has shifted beyond expectation. What government needs to do is to reciprocate by doing what is needful to appreciate the workers.

“We are talking about compensation, salary and legitimate compensation for work done. Inasmuch as we believe in the consequential adjustment, it has to be reasonable, otherwise, people will feel neglected.

“Tuesday’s meeting is the benchmark for labour’s action but mobilisation continues. The meeting will tell us the way forward because anything can happen.”