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No going back on strike – Labour

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—Tripartite C’ttee resumes negotiation next week, says Ngige
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA – THE organised labour Wednesday insisted that it will proceed with its planned warning strike over the the inability of the Federal Government to continue negotiation on minimum wage.

Attempts by the Federal Government to persuade the leadership of the organised labour could not yield any positive results.

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But the Federal Government has announced that the Minimum Wage Tripartite Committee will resume sitting on Thursday next week to continue the negotiation process.

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The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige disclosed this to journalists after meeting behind closed door with some members of Tripartite Committee.

Vanguard reliably gathered that the meeting was to persuade the labour leaders to consider their position on the planned strike and also to update them on government decision.

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Ngige said that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration is a labour friendly government, adding that it had been shown in many ways.

He said, “One of the ways that we are going to show it is by implementing the new national minimum wage and this we need to fix a base for the lowest paid worker in Nigeria.

“We are resuming next week, precisely on Thursday, October 4 and the meeting may spill over to October 5, as we normally use two days for the meeting.

“So, we are reconvening the meeting on the October 4, and all the process have being put in place.”

The Minister noted that the Labour leaders have been informed about it and were expected to communicate to their members, saying “we do not need to have any strike in the country.”

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He assured organised labour that before the meeting on the October 4. All necessary demands by organised labour would have been factored in.

He said, “Part of our consultation, means that the Economic Management Team which is managing the entire economy of the country would have something to work on.

“Already they are working on it and the National Salaries and Wages Commission and it is expected that before that meeting on October 4, they would have been through with the work.

“So everything is subject to negotiation, so on Thursday October 4, we are going back to the negotiating table.”

Ngige added that the 14-day ultimatum issued to the Federal Government did not get to him, “otherwise we would have addressed it scientifically the way it should be done,” he said.

He also said that Federal Government was optimistic that the committee would wrap up in October and all other processes as it concerns the new national minimum wage for workers in the country.

Also speaking to journalists, the National President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Ayuba Wabba said the outcome of the briefing by the Minister will be communicated to their members.

The NLC President said the strike by organised labour will continue on till further directives

He said, “As you are aware there is a meeting where the Honourable Minister of Labour tried to address us because since the time we issued this notice there was no consultation or meeting.

“This was the first meeting and he tried to update us on what they are trying to do, that briefing had to be communicated to our membership and clearly from where we are, you also know our demand.

“Our demand is that the Tripartite Negotiating Council should be called back to conclude its assignment.

“We are taking back the discussion we had with him, especially the update on what they are doing which before now, we are not aware because there was no consultation.”

Also speaking, the Deputy President of United Labour Congress, ULC, Igwe Achese said the meeting was an interactive meeting with members of Tripartite Committee.

Igwe said that the meeting called by the minister was to brief the organised labour on the update of the Federal Government activities as it concern the new national minimum wage.

But he said, “I want to say that our demand still stands until government comply.”

Recall that the Federal Government had set up a four member committee last week to have a holistic view of the new minimum wage and come up with a position.

The Committee was given up to Tuesday, September 25, to submit its report, but Vanguard gathered that the sub committee could not conclude its sitting because some members were part of the Federal Government delegation to the United Nations General Assembly, UNGA in New York.

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