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Minimum wage: Buhari goverment, Labour in final push over strike

The Federal Government and labour unions are engaged in a last-minute dialogue, to avert a nationwide strike by workers, slated on Oct. 16.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that labour has resorted to the strike option, following an apparent inability of government and labour to find a way out of the minimum wage logjam.

Speaking in Abuja on Monday at the continuation of a conciliatory meeting, the Chief Arbiter and Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, said the meeting was an opportunity for information sharing and an avenue to soften ground for a final meeting, slated for Oct. 15.

He told the labour leaders to be open-minded in their dialogue so that both parties could get a way out of the minimum wage logjam.

Also speaking, the Deputy President of the Nigerian Labour Congress, Mr Amaechi Asugwuni, who spoke on behalf of organised labour, said that the meeting was called by the minister to share information with labour leaders.

He said that labour had made considerable shift on its demands from the earlier position on the consequential adjustment of the N30, 000 minimum wage.

“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 negotiations.

“The consequential adjustment is a matter of percentage which requires give and take principle. You state what you want but it depends on 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.”

On the mobilisation for strike, Asugwuni said that the meeting on Oct. 15 would determine everything, noting that mobilisation was on top gear “for an industrial action from 17th October, 2019”. (NAN)

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