Bimbola Oyesola, Moshood Adebayo, James Ojo, Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja and Laide Raheem, Abeokuta
The Federal Government, yesterday, tactically conceded to the demand for increase in the consequential adjustment of the new minimum wage.
But the increase was turned down by the representatives of the Organised Labour, thereby leading to the continuation of the meeting by 2 pm today.
Ultimatum given by the Organised Labour for the planned strike expires today.
- A source from the Labour side told Daily Sun in a telephone interview that Federal Government agreed to add seven per cent to its earlier offer. Initially, government had offered 6.5 to level 15 – 17 and 11 to 11 – 14.
A source at the meeting revealed that government has shifted from its earlier position by offering to pay consequential adjustment of 17 percent to workers on level 07 to level 14 from the initial 11 percent and 12 percent to Level 15 to 17.
However, the Secretary General of the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN), Basir Alade Lawal, said the figure proposed by government was unacceptable.
“We make some moves from both sides, but its premature to conclude on it. Government is bringing in some new proposition into it which we do not agree.”
The Labour leader said Organised Labour opted to go back to their leadership to discuss the implication of the new government proposition vis-a-vis what their early demand has been.
Meanwhile, negotiation to resolve the consequential adjustment continues today.
Deputy President of NLC, Amaechi Asugwuni, said at the meeting that will resume by 2pm, the grey area would possibly be resolved.
“The outcome of the meeting will depend on the commitments of government to areas not yet covered which are very crucial.
“We want government to see to the reason to shift ground so as to mitigate our resolve to go on strike,” he said.
Stop misinforming workers, Ngige tells Labour leaders
Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, has accused the leadership of organised labour of misinforming workers on the mechanism of fixing minimum wage and consequential adjustment.
He told the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) that there was a difference between consequential adjustment and a holistic wage review.
Ngige said it was unfair on the part of labour to threaten government with strike when negotiation was yet to be concluded, reminding labour that strike should be last weapon in bargaining.
Also, he said that he was surprised that NULGE chapters and even state chapters were yet to open negotiation with state governments and council chairmen on the issue of National Minimum Wage Act since it became a national law that should be obeyed by all.
Said he: “I am surprised that NLC and TUC in the states said they are declaring strike in states without having dialogue with state governments. It shouldn’t be. They should dialogue first and if it fails, they can talk of strike. Strike is not even the end of a dialogue. The minimum wage itself is for the persons on grade level one step one.”
According to the minister, the last holistic wage review took place in 2011, while new one is being planned.
ULC disowns proposed strike
The United Labour Congress of Nigeria, (ULC), yesterday, said its members will not participate in the planned strike over the implementation of the N30,000 new minimum wage after the expiration of the ultimatum.
President of ULC, Joe Ajaero in a statement titled: “Is the proposed strike a sabotage of the minimum wage?” said: “It is important that we state at this juncture that we feel pained that a child which all the labour centres worked together in birthing is being subjected to abuse and battering by our co-midwives. We were part of the 16-Man Technical Committee that gave birth to the Tripartite Committee on the Review of the National Minimum Wage and in which we participated vigorously in all the processes leading to its negotiation and the various struggles to deliver it for the benefit of Nigerian workers and peoples.”
He noted that the dynamics of the struggle dictates that labour mobilise all its constituents both primary and secondary to make for a successful strike.
He reasoned that a man that intentionally goes to war without its most critical weapons has prepared himself to fail.
“Nigerian workers cannot be forced to negotiate from a position of weakness as in this case? Why would we want to go into a nation-wide strike without mobilising all the national stakeholders and civil society organisations such as market women, students, faith-based organisations, community associations etc? Why the concerted effort to ensure that the critical sectors that would make for a successful strike are consciously sidelined?
Ajaero explained that the proposed strike will not have the desired impact and would not achieve the intentions Nigerian workers would want as it is seemingly dead on arrival as programmed by the hidden interests pushing the agenda.
However, he called on the Federal Government to show more responsibility towards the immediate implementation of the new national minimum wage.
..FG, NLC’ll harmonise differences
The National President of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN)
Sanusi Abdul-Fari, has expressed optimism that the Federal Government(FG) and Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) would harmonise their differences to avert the indefinite strike.
Abdul-Fair, who spoke with reporters in Abeokuta, Ogun State, shortly after the election and swearing in of new executive of the IPMAN, Ogun State branch, said there may not be any strike to warrant a solidarity strike from IPMAN.
According to him, the Federal Government would harmonise everything to bring an amicable solution to the issue at the end of the day.
NLC’s absence stalls Reps mediation
However, the absence of the NLC at a mediatory meeting between the House of Representatives Committee on Labour and Productivity and the organised labour, yesterday, stalled the efforts to mediate between Labour and the Federal Government over the impasse in the implementation of the new minimum wage.
Chairman of the committee, Umar Mohammad-Wudil, said the NLC in a letter dated October 15 and addressed to the committee said the meeting coincided with the one between it and the Federal Government on the quest to renegotiate the minimum wage.
According to him, the NLC requested the committee to give them another date interface with the parliament on the minimum wage imbroglio. He said the committee is committed to ensuring industrial harmony in the country.
Mohammed-Wudil noted that “the Speaker didn’t appoint this committee in error because he knows that we can deliver and we’re going to deliver. and which is why we decided to invite labour leaders to our inaugural meeting, but unfortunately they couldn’t come.
“I am using this medium to appeal to my colleagues that I as chairman need their support to be able to function effectively as chairman.
“I’m an engineer by training and each and every one of us here is a professional in one field or the other, and I urge us to bring our wealth of experience to bare in the discharge of our duties.”
Lagos’ll pay more than N30,000
Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo Olu has expressed the willingness of his administration to pay more than the N30,000 benchmark for the National Minimum Wage
Sanwo-Olu said the government understood the day-by-day challenges being faced by workers in the state to do their tasks, hence its decision to pay more than the N30,000 minimum wage benchmark.
He also added that the implementation of the new minimum wage payment would take off when the Federal Government and labour unions conclude their negotiations.
To achieve this, the governor added that his administration was drawing up its finances and creating additional revenue sources that would enable it sustain the new minimum wage payment.
Sanwo Olu made the disclosures during a meeting with Organised Labour Unions held at the State House in Alausa, Ikeja.
“As a government, we take the issue of minimum wage very seriously. We know how important and germane it is to the wellbeing of our people. We are technically ready to implement the new minimum wage. I made commitment during my previous interactions with the labour unions before my assumption of office and I am still keeping to the promise made. However little it is, we will certainly pay more than N30,000 minimum wage.
“We understand the position Lagos occupies and we understand the challenges workers are facing in Lagos. If other states can raise up to that amount, I believe Lagos needs to show a bit more to appreciate workers’ contribution to the growth of our state.”
Sanwo-Olu said he had directed the Commissioner for Finance to look into the unpaid arrears of workers’ medical allowance, with a charge to clear the backlog and make payment to the affected workers.
He also added that the state was planning to absorb its entire workforce in the recently introduced health insurance scheme.
The governor said his administration had started to tackle challenges limiting the workers’ productivity, including massive rehabilitation of critical highways across the state to reduce travel time and diffuse road congestion.
He also met with members of Lagos State Public Service Joint Negotiating Council (JNC) led by Comrade Rasak Falade at the State House.